Every day a small, but dedicated team of three divert more than 20,000 containers from landfill at the Tuncurry Waste Management Centre Return and Earn depot.
The re-opening of the facility following lockdown was 'celebrated' with the introduction of a second state-of-the-art machine which has doubled this capacity.
"Customers can expect their wait times to be slashed with the second machine," Resource Recovery Australia supervisor, Joel Gordon said.
"It instantly doubles our capacity," he said.
"Following the closure due to the public health orders, we expect to see high numbers of containers returned in the coming weeks."
Local, not-for-profit, social enterprise Resource Recovery Australia (RRA), in partnership with Tomra Cleanaway and MidCoast Council, launched the second state-of-the-art singulator at the depot on Midge Orchid Road recently.
The investment in the second machine means the potential for extra jobs and better environmental outcomes.
"With community support, a second machine means more containers out of landfill and more green jobs for our local community," Mr Gordon said.
The machine itself, a singulator, is designed and manufactured by Tomra, the technology provider for Return and Earn.
As well as machine operation and day-to-day maintenance, our team build real work skills including customer service, community engagement, forklift tickets, WHS and leadership skills.- Resource Recovery Australia supervisor, Joel Gordon
"The singulator machine amazes a lot of our customers," Mr Gordon said.
"It captures about 1GB of data per second, including information about the size and condition of every container and can process up to 100 containers a minute.
"This enables our team to provide on the spot refunds for large volumes of containers.
"In our peak summer period, the second machine enables us to process over 100,000 containers per day."
For the RRA team, improving the customer experience is only part of the story.
The social enterprise turns #Waste2Wages, providing employment and training opportunities to locals experiencing barriers to employment.
"The Return and Earn program has provided six employment opportunities since it started in 2017.
"As well as machine operation and day-to-day maintenance, our team build real work skills including customer service, community engagement, forklift tickets, WHS and leadership skills."
Recently, the Tuncurry Automated Depot clicked over 19.2 million containers processed.
"Community members can donate some or all of their containers to local charities including the RFS and Riding for the Disabled to help raise money for a range of local causes."
Residential and commercial customers can visit the Tuncurry automated depot to return their eligible containers and receive their 10 cent refund, seven days per week.
For safety, all customers and staff are required to wear a mask when visiting the Tuncurry automated depot.
"We appreciate everyone adhering to COVID Safe practices, including wearing a mask and staying home if they are unwell."
Did you know? Great Lakes Advocate online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sport, what's on and entertainment - they also have access to our print editions in digital format, with all the advertisements and classifieds at their fingertips.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.