St Vincent de Paul Society and the Container Deposit Scheme

Our joint project with St Vincent de Paul Society began when our current CEO first joined Regional Enterprise Development Institute in 2018. She began her role by going through a proposal from TOMRA Cleanaway, looking to enter into a contract for a Container Deposit Scheme in Dubbo.

Tracey knew it was a great idea that would hugely benefit the community. But as it wasn’t something REDI.E had done before and she wanted to explore how the facility would operate.

St Vincent de Paul Society was running a site in Sydney, so Tracey travelled to the facility to take a look. She was incredibly impressed by the operations. It was fast paced and efficient with a thorough process that ensured everything ran smoothly.

Tracey knew the values of St Vincent de Paul fitted in perfectly with REDI.E’s core business goals - to create employment opportunities in regional Australia.

A board was created and a joint venture proposal began.

The site in Dubbo now acts as an important community access point for the Return and Earn program. It has resulted in a community-wide shift in attitudes to waste and tonnes of drink containers returned for recycling.

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has more than 60,000 members and volunteers, who work hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice across the country.

Like REDI.E, the Society’s strength lies in their local presence in communities, which enables them to offer personal service, neighbour to neighbour, with compassion and respect.

Vinnies’ operates six bulk automated depot locations across NSW. As of the beginning of 2021, these sites are responsible for processing more than 100 million containers since the launch of the scheme in December 2017.

Vinnies operate multiple return points around New South Wales, providing local job opportunities and revenue to support community programs and activities.

Their role in this project was to work with REDI on all aspects of the operation of the collection point. From the early days of choosing the location, and setting up the system, through to the day to day processes.

While REDI.E’s key role was to support the training of employees, as well as the Reconciliation Action Plan.

The first challenge we faced was to find a suitable space for the facility.

We initially found a great site that fitted our criteria - however it was eventually deemed unsuitable due to its location.

It was important the facility was in a central, easily accessible area - for everyone. We knew there would be a large number of people coming from communities outside of Dubbo to use the collection point.

We wanted to ensure easy access for everyone - not just locals.

The industrial area connected to REDI’s Main Office came forward as a perfect solution. It was already correctly zoned, so it fitted in well with local council requirements.

Once we found the site - we needed staff to operate the facility.

This was REDI.E’s key role in the project.

We used our industry and community connections to lead the recruitment process. After several interviews, we hired three staff members. They would need on the job training, so we facilitated this.

We also held information sessions, to provide the community with information at each stage of the project. This way we could answer any questions or concerns.

In order to provide our communities with the best possible experience at the collection point, the decision was made to open Monday through to Saturday.

We implemented a casual pool of employers, all fully trained, to ensure the facility always runs smoothly.

With the help of the St Vincent de Paul Society, a network of clubs and organisations has been built. All of whom are hughley benefiting from the Return and Earn Scheme.

Due to the easily accessible location, many people from outlying communities are travelling in to use the facility.

Feedback from customers who use the collection point has been incredibly positive.

Today, 75% of NSW residents have participated in the Return and Earn program. Two out of every three drink containers supplied into the state in the last 12 months have been recycled through the scheme.

4.6 billion containers now have a new life as a valuable resource. There is less litter in parks and waterways, $460 million in refunds is back into the hands of the community, helping to bolster local business and charities.

In terms of data coming from the facility:

  • It processes 1.5 million containers each month
  • 22,505,220 containers processed in total, so far.
  • $1,013,829 earned in total for refunds, less $46,982 in donations - which has seen $966,847 go to the public
  • Containers processed have been 24.3% glass, 23.5% plastic and 51% aluminium.

Most importantly, with the establishment of the joint venture and Board of Directors, we have set future priorities for this wonderful partnership between REDI.E and St Vincent de Paul Society.

With a Reconciliation Action Plan, REDI.E and St Vincent de Paul can work together to employ more First Australians, in important roles.

A dialogue has been opened between the organisations. When positions become available with St Vincent de Paul, we can connect with our clients who might be eligible and help them to apply.

REDI.E eagerly anticipates future plans and ventures that will help benefit communities - and our environment.

If you or your business is interested in a partnership with REDI,E, get in touch.

We are always looking to connect with like minded organisations who want to open doors for our people.

Get in touch with us today

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