Illawarra Not-For-Profit Support Provider Honoured With Top Environmental Award

Mon Sep 30, 2013

An Illawarra branch of one of Australia’s foremost community-based mental health support providers has been honoured with a prestigious environmental award.

Renewable Recyclers - a social enterprise of RichmondPRA - has won the NSW Government’s top environmental award for Regional sustainability at the Green Globe Award ceremony at NSW Parliament House.

North Wollongong-based Renewable Recyclers took out the honour for its ‘Above Ground Mining – Wa$te to Wage$’ project.

The project focusses on reducing, reusing and recycling electronic waste (e-waste), creating green jobs and training opportunities for people with barriers to mainstream employment in the Illawarra region through ‘above ground mining’.

The end results are better environmental outcomes and employment and social interaction opportunities for local people who are disadvantaged and at risk of being marginalised and isolated.

RichmondPRA CEO Pamela Rutledge said the award validates the organisations status as a leader in environmental excellence and employment.

“It’s exciting for everyone behind Renewable Recyclers to be recognised for making a significant environmental contribution,” Ms Rutledge said.

“But we’re not only diverting e-waste from landfill and recovering valuable resources – the added bonus is that we’re giving often disadvantaged people with barriers to employment an invaluable leg-up into the workforce.

“This is incredibly important because employees are engaged in meaningful work and are far more likely to move into the mainstream workforce due to their experience.”

Renewable Recyclers Business Manager Miles Lochhead said the recognition was a tremendous morale boost.

“Our team is thrilled to bits,” Mr Lochhead said.

“It’s one thing to know you’re making a big environmental and social difference on a day-to-day basis, but another to be so comprehensively recognised.

“This is a big credit to every worker and organisation who has been involved with the project.

“We’re always on the lookout for more corporate partners and we’re hoping this award will be a platform that helps us to secure more work and create more jobs into the future.”

NSW Environment Minister and host of the Awards, Robyn Parker, congratulated RichmondPRA and other award recipients.

“The 2013 winners show us that no matter the size or type of organisation, investing in sustainability brings social and economic benefits to the community,” Ms Parker said.

“It’s exciting to see this year’s winners leading by example and striving to find new ways to live and work more sustainably.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

RichmondPRA is a not-for-profit organisation providing recovery focussed support programs, accommodation and hope for people with a lived experience of mental illness in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a leading mental health support provider that has been in operation for more than 55 years.

Renewable Recyclers is a social enterprise of RichmondPRA that aims to reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfill. The North-Wollongong operation provides sustainable jobs and training opportunities for people experiencing social and economic disadvantage. Through project collaboration and partnerships, employee numbers and processing capacity have more than doubled since last year. Training and development opportunities for staff are provided, and all permanent staff are currently enrolled in relevant courses.

www.environment.nsw.gov.au/greenglobes

Photos for news media: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48646673@N07/9728766862/

 
Media Contact:
Matthew Watson 0417 691 884