The passion to grow and expand their recycling business has earned Cooktown locals Kenny and Steffi Reid a Queensland-wide award nomination for sustainability.
Their company Auswaste began operating in the Containers for Change scheme in Cooktown back in 2019 and has now become a vital cog in providing access to recycling right across the Cape.
The Containers for Change scheme exchanges a 10-cent refund for every eligible beverage container returned to a registered point across Queensland.
The people in communities like Aurukun, Bamaga, Lockhart River, Mapoon and Weipa – to name just a few places where Auswaste supply access to recycling – are now able to collect these 10 cent refunds and ensure they are helping to clean up their local environment.
These impressive efforts have earned Auswaste a Change Maker Award nomination in the category of sustainability for small to medium businesses.
The awards will be presented in Brisbane on Friday.
The move by Auswaste to expand into Cape communities has not only established an important service but has helped future-proof the business.
“Sustainability of small business in the Cape is a challenge,” said Kenny.
“The Containers for Change scheme has given not only the opportunity to develop and deliver a service in remote areas and communities, but also inspired Auswaste to build other businesses around logistics and recycling.
“This has seen us grow from employing 12 staff when we started in the scheme in 2019, to employing 30-plus local people spread over five different businesses.
“This has allowed us to offer full-time employment in a seasonal environment.”
The Containers for Change scheme has now returned more than $450 million in 10-cent refunds to Queenslanders since it was established in November 2018.
It has contributed to a 54 per cent decrease in beverage container litter in the state’s natural environment.
The work of just some of the people who have helped achieve these statistics will be honoured at the third annual Change Maker Awards.
Major awards such as the Change Maker of the Year, the Charity or Community Group of the Year, and the Young Change Maker of the Year will be presented on the night.
Businesses will be recognised for their efforts in categories including customer focus, community engagement, safety and innovation, as well as sustainability.
The awards ceremony will be compered by Channel 7 personality and rugby league great Shane Webcke. It will be staged at Brisbane’s Pullman Hotel.
A live stream of the awards can be viewed on the Containers for Change Youtube channel or at www.containerexchange.com.au/change-makers.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 12 October 2021.