Electronic waste equals jobs

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Ground has been broken for the development of an e-waste facility in Officer, creating jobs for the shire’s disadvantaged.

The Outlook-run e-waste facility would help divert discarded electronic appliances such as mobile phones, computers, and televisions from being dumped in among rubbish at local landfills.

Construction at the eight-acre site off Hickson Road would create 26 jobs as well as a further 12 ongoing employment opportunities for people with a disability and from disadvantaged backgrounds in the community.

Outlook chief Sam Sondhi said the e-waste facility had been a long time coming, with the initial vision having been proposed several years ago.

“We intend to process up to 1000 tonnes of e-waste per annum for the first year and build it up from that,” Mr Sondhi said.

“Right now our priority is to get this facility up and running and get the volume of e-waste, but the site also has room for about two or three different initiatives.

“A waste transfer location could apply here, for example, but we’ve got to work through our other options. We also have plans to establish a wholesale nursery, creating more jobs for people with disabilities.

“It’s the start of a new phase for Outlook.”

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the project was made possible through funding provided by Sustainability Victoria.

“E-waste can contain hazardous and valuable materials. That’s why we are banning it from Victorian landfills,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“This new facility will divert up to 1000 tonnes of e-waste from landfill annually and is a great example of different levels of government working together to achieve great outcomes.

“The quicker it’s built, the better it will be for everyone concerned.”

Liberal Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said the Andrews Labor Government had previously moved to withdraw its funding towards the initiative.

“There were issues with the funding of this project and only after intervention of Tony Fitzgerald and myself are we now able to stand here today to see this dream become a reality,” Mr Battin said.

“This project will see the creation of more local jobs for people with a disability and the removal of waste from landfills, all great outcomes due to the hard work of passionate locals making a difference in our community.

“Outlook is a magnificent contributor to ensure people of all abilities can reach their true potential.”

Outlook Environmental currently runs waste transfer sites in Mornington, Knox, Hampton Park, Hume and Reservoir and has removed tens of thousands of tonnes of material from the waste stream since 1986.

The Officer-based e-waste facility is expected to be operational by February next year.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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