This social enterprise creates jobs from literal plastic bottles and we love a win-win solution

This social enterprise creates jobs from literal plastic bottles and we love a win-win solution

PEDSTRIAN.TV has partnered with Containers for Change for Queenslanders to exchange their containers for cash.

This week I learned a not so fun fact. It was so terrible that it should be called a miserable fact. The fact is that by 2050 it is estimated that plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish. To win out over fish. That’s enough to make anyone want to run off to a farm and never use anything again.

Obviously we have a problem. In addition to single-use plastic ending up in landfills, Australia also has an e-waste problem.

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report, electronic waste (such as discarded phones, computers and televisions) increased by 21% in the five years to 2019. It is expected that by 2030, Higher consumption rates, shorter life cycles and limited repair options will mean the figure will double. I told you it was damn grim.

However, there are some absolute gems in this world that help reduce the problem. One of them is Tony Sharp, the founder of the Substation33 initiative. The social enterprise has been operating in Kingston, Queensland since 2012 and is tackling the growing number of electronic items that end up in landfills.

Substation33 recently partnered with Containers for Change to extract even more plastic from oceans and landfills. Containers for Change is a recycling program where for every (eligible) container you recycle at a Container Redemption Point, you will receive 10 cents. Cheers to the agents of change, isn’t it?

In addition to recycling, reusing and reducing e-waste, Substation33 also provides a workplace where people who have left the workforce or come from marginalized communities can gain the confidence and skills to transition into employment. fulltime. Legends.

To learn more about this iconic initiative, we spoke to Tony Sharp to find out why he started such a versatile company.

Hi Tony. What made you want to start Substation33?

The vision was to create volunteering and employment opportunities for people otherwise marginalized from employment. What we have now learned is that work pace is key to a person’s employability skill set.

Were you involved in waste management before creating this organization?

Actually no. I spent over five years owning and operating heavy machinery under contract with a large landfill in South East Queensland. This framed my desire to reduce the amount of valuable resources that end up in landfills. At this point in my life, I never fully understood the effect that this mindless consumerism and consumption had on me.

What types of job opportunities are available at Substation33?

We offer a wide range of volunteer and employment opportunities at Substation33. Dismantling, e-waste collection and logistics, software and hardware development and on-site construction.

Over the past two months, we’ve introduced a new set of paid positions through our partnership with Containers for Change. Our initiative now operates seven days a week and offers a wide variety of shift opportunities.

In 2021, you started a partnership with Containers for Change. How do you and Containers for Change reduce container waste?

The partnership allowed us to sort 12 million containers in just 200 days after opening our new facility. It also created 30 paying jobs and changed the conversation about the value of the recycling program in our local community.

Why is this partnership so well suited?

This partnership is perfectly suited to our purpose; create entry-level paid positions and allow people to experience the pace of work in a safe and supported workplace.

For us, this fits perfectly with the idea of ​​Containers for Change. Not only does this partnership bring about environmental change, but it also brings about significant social change through the employment of people otherwise marginalized from work opportunities.

Every year, Substaion 33 saves approximately 200 tonnes of electronic waste from ending up in landfill. What happens to this waste?

We reallocated over 4,500 computers and distributed them in our local community, to bridge the ever-growing digital divide. E-waste, in general, re-enters commodity streams to be transformed into raw products. We also build commercial products from this recycling activity.

What few people know about electronic waste?

Australia is one of the largest producers of electronic waste in the world, class the 5the leading producer with 21.7 kg of waste per person produced in 2019. Less than 1/5 is recycled worldwide, although this varies by region. It is known that only 17.4% of the world’s total electronic waste has been collected and properly recycled.

Head over to Substation33 and Containers for Change to learn more about these changemakers.

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