RR Wins Westpac Grant - Shares Sustainable Model

30/10/14, BEN-GLOBAL, Jacqueline Ong.
NSW waste management enterprise Resource Recovery (RR) has won a $530,000 Westpac Foundation Innovation Grant and will use the money to share its model with councils and social enterprises across Australia.
RR is a social enterprise of Great Lakes Community Resources and operates the Tuncurry landfill in the Mid North Coast region of NSW.
RR manager Liz Stubbs told Inside Waste News that the RR model focuses on "intensive resource recovery", which has led to a number of economic and social benefits.
"The landfill site has been designed to help with upfront source separation, which makes it easier to develop good, economic streams. A lot of tips that take in waste from people driving in do not actively source separate but we do," she said.
"We actively divert a diverse range of materials, which gives us a strong economic base. Some of the recyclables we pull out, go to our recycling shop onsite, where we also have a repair and refurbishment workshop."
The Tuncurry site receives about 20,000 tonnes of waste annually, of which about 70% is diverted. Stubbs said RR does not rely on ad-hoc source separation and even has a team that works at the landfill cells.
"RR does active cell sorting and at each landfill cell that we operate in, we've got a team actively retrieving materials, further increasing the number of economic recycling streams."
Better material separation is not the only benefit, Stubbs said, as their process has also increased employment opportunities and generated local training for people experiencing a disadvantage, such as the long-term unemployed.
"We've seen how jobs have made a huge difference to people with disadvantages and the RR model provides a supportive framework for them."
"But we are profit for purpose, not a charity. You don't get anywhere if you don't make profit so we're a viable enterprise," Stubbs added.
The funding has allowed RR to expand and undertake consulting work with councils and social enterprises that may be interested in setting up a sustainable waste management service in their locality and RR is currently running a trial in Gladstone, Queensland.
"Gladstone Shire Council asked RR to undertake a trial of our model before they put their waste management contract out to tender because their previous salvage company had contract difficulties. So we're acting as emergency operators and we're confident that we'll turn their operations around," Stubbs
RR manager Craig Rees, who is up in Gladstone helping the shire said that since the trial began, the council has been able to increase employment.
"The council is weighing everything so they can quantify it. Not only has diversion improved, the landfill looks aesthetically beautiful and we've made nine more jobs available," Rees said.
"The transfer of our model has been seamless. Our concern initially was, is the model transferrable? And it is 100 percent transferrable."