For Sally Quinn and Darren Andrews, Green Collect is all about transformation.
Green Collect works with over one hundred local councils, government departments and corporate offices in Victoria to provide office recycling services for items that are typically hard to recycle.
At their Braybrook processing centre, every item is assessed, broken down to its components parts by hand, tested and turned into something useful.
The amount of waste that Green Collect has saved from landfill even within a single year is mind-blogging. This includes:
- Over 22,000 thousand VHS tapes (equivalent to 4412 kg of waste);
- More than 30,000 folders; and
- Over 216,000 stationery items, ranging from single pens to plastic in-trays to presentation folios.
Some of the more unusual items they’ve collected include surplus medals and awards, thousands of sheets of material with spelling mistakes, a set of European marionettes, an R2D2 rubbish bin (a collector’s item!), a ventriloquist’s doll and hundreds of plastic beach balls.
Green Collect also operates two retail stores in Braybrook and Yarraville to provide items with a second life. The aim: to ensure that to the extent possible, all materials can be brought back into use in order to save resources.
“Part of our mission is to educate people about making impactful choices when they go shopping. So as well as reselling items that we collect, we offer a range of sustainably sourced or locally produced new products that help people move towards a more waste-free lifestyle,” explains Sally.
As a social enterprise, Green Collect also provides employment opportunities for people who are otherwise generally excluded from the mainstream workforce due to homelessness, mental health issues or refugee status.
“As a former social worker, I’ve seen how much having a secure job can mean for someone who’s struggled to find work. It shows them they are valued; that new things are possible,” says Sally. “Being part of the transformation of waste, and the transformation of people’s lives, is what drives our whole team at Green Collect, every day.”