Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:01

Social enterprise with ZEST

Workers at Mission Australia's Soft Landing mattress recycling plant in Smithfield. Workers at Mission Australia's Soft Landing mattress recycling plant in Smithfield. Mission Australia

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) is nominating Mission Australia’s Soft Landing mattress recycling program for a Western Sydney ZEST Award.

The ZEST Awards are a celebration of innovation and creativity within Western Sydney’s community sector.

President of WSROC Cllr Tony Hadchiti said “WSROC is proud to nominate Soft Landing Smithfield for the award of Exceptional Social Enterprise.”

Soft Landing provides jobs and traineeships for local people who have experienced barriers entering the workforce. Working with a number of WSROC member councils (as well as private partners), Soft Landing recycles mattresses that have been illegally dumped, donated or left for council pick-up.

Soft Landing has the dual benefit of giving meaningful employment to disadvantaged individuals as well as diverting a bulky waste product from landfill. Employees recycle as much as 95 percent of each mattress, breaking it down into base materials such as foam, metal, timber and fabric.

“It is great to see residents, who have previously had difficulty finding work, gain skills, confidence and even go on to further employment,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“These workers are doing a great service for Western Sydney. Mattresses are bulky, take years to decompose and often end up in landfill because they are difficult to recycle mechanically,” he said.

“Last year the Soft Landing program picked up over 42,000 mattresses from WSROC councils, saving members over $1 million in landfill costs.”

Bill Dibley, Leader of Social Enterprise at Mission Australia said “Many of the workers we employ at Smithfield are now undertaking traineeships in waste management, and over 70 percent of our staff have gone on to further training and employment opportunities. These are people who were doing it tough and would otherwise have found it extremely difficult to get into the labour market, so this is a great result.” 

“We believe Soft Landing is a great example of how recycling is good for the environment, good for the economy, and good for the wellbeing of our community and we are grateful to WSROC and other councils who have taken such a proactive approach to mattress recycling through this program,” said Mr Dibley.

The ZEST Awards are a partnership between Western Sydney Community Forum, TRI Community Exchange and WESTIR.

Winners will be announced on 25th February, 2015.

Last modified on Thursday, 18 December 2014 11:56