Digital switchover creates opportunity for people with a disability

14 May 2013

Endeavour Foundation is hoping 61 local people with a disability will be the big winners when South-East Queensland switches over to digital TV on May 28th.

People with a disability in Redcliffe are expanding their employment horizons by recycling unwanted televisions and computers and they aim to dismantle more than 50 tonnes of "e-waste" per month.

Commercial Manager Nick Hully says Endeavour Foundation has been contracted by DHL Supply Chain to open a Drop Zone where members of the public can bring their e-waste for free recycling.

"Endeavour Foundation is excited to open a Drop Zone for members of the public to bring in unwanted TVs, computers and computer accessories, knowing they will be dismantled and the components recycled rather than ending up in landfill," he said.

Site Manager Rick Guy said that e-waste recycling provided meaningful and commercially viable employment opportunities for people with a disability.

"Not only do employees enjoy the work, we’re doing something good for the environment and establishing an strong foundation for our future as a social enterprise," Mr Guy said.

The contract with DHL Supply Chain is a result of the National Television and Computer Product Stewardship Scheme, established by the Federal Government to increase the recycling of television and computer waste.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water as well as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP congratulated Endeavour Foundation on expanding their employment opportunities to the area of television and computer recycling.

"Over 200 recycling sites have been established through National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme in the past year and over 14,000 tonnes of e-waste has been recycled.

"Not only will the move by Endeavour Foundation to recycle e-waste lead to significant environmental benefits and reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfill, but it will also mean more opportunities for local people with a disability in South-East Queensland to access supported employment," Ms Rishworth said.

"The Federal Labor Government believes that disability should not be a barrier to securing a fulfilling job, and I am so pleased that this expansion will increase access to supported employment in the local community."

E-waste is Australia’s fastest growing waste disposal problem and the scheme aims to address this by boosting the recycling rate of TVs and computers from 17 per cent in 2010 to 90 per cent by 2021-22 – significantly reducing the amount of electronic gadgetry in landfill.

Mr Guy said Endeavour Foundation workers also boasted high recycling recovery rates.

"The Product Stewardship Scheme requires that we recover 90% of the total materials processed from TVs and computers," he said.

"But because we dismantle and process TVs and computers by hand – unlike some of the large corporations involved in recycling – we can far exceed the required amounts. Currently we achieve recycling of up to 95% of materials."

Mr Hully said the illegal dumping of computers and TVs around charity bins was also a serious problem costing Endeavour Foundation thousands of dollars in clean-up costs.

"Rather than leaving old TVs around charity bins we ask people to consider bringing them to the Drop Zone we have set up for e-waste recycling - accessible to the public from today at Endeavour Foundation Redcliffe, 46 High Street, Kippa Ring," he concluded.

Media contact: Kirrily Boulton, ph 0429 077 886.

Endeavour Foundation is a leading provider of employment, education, training, skills development and lifestyle support for Australians with a disability. Established in 1951, today we support people with a disability in more than 3,700 placements from 230 locations throughout  Queensland and in Sydney.