Melbourne-based social enterprise Green Collect has picked up the prestigious Social Enterprise of the Year award for 2019. The award, an initiative of the Social Traders, recognises Green Collect’s strong business performance as it generates positive outcomes towards environmental and social impact.
Green Collect has a strong history with the BUV. Founders Sally Quinn and Darren Andrews started the business under a feasibility study with Urban Seed, then based at Collins Street Baptist Church. The initiative grew, thanks to the passion of the founders and their pursuit to innovate in the evolving waste-recovery industry. Active partnerships with Ashburton, Essendon and Armadale Baptist continue to build connection through care for the environment and job creation. Green Collect and the BUV are working to support the development of social enterprises, both through the Social Enterprise Guild and mentoring and sharing of knowledge.
Today, Green Collect employs over 30 people and focuses on delivering environmental solutions for office waste. They collect the folders, stationery, small electronics and computers that are frequently discarded as offices update or relocate. Last year, the service collected and sorted 125 tonnes of items, saving them from landfill. Items are individually assessed for their best environmental outcome and then either resold in Green Collect’s retail stores, upcycled into new products, or responsibly recycled.
Sally Quinn, CEO, comments: “At Green Collect, we know we do things differently. We show that there are positive solutions to the problem of waste, and that those solutions can also deliver positive outcomes for people. Our workplace is designed around an inclusive model, enabling us to provide work opportunities for people who have previously faced barriers to employment. Through a more caring workplace, we enable people to build the skills they need for long-term work.
Over the years, we’ve become the experts in finding the best environmental outcome for even the most difficult to recycle items. Our passion for saving things from landfill means we put in a considerable amount of time and effort into researching opportunities for the next life, particularly for complex problems like e-waste. We’re always looking for new ways to reuse items, and creative ways to make something new from something old.”
Green Collect also run two retail stores – their own outlets that on-sell the items collected from offices, as well as second-hand clothing and sustainability products. In their Braybrook store you can find a treasure-trove of computers and accessories, old video games, CDs and DVDs, and a wide range of salvaged stationery including highlighters, textas and folders. All saved from landfill. The Yarraville store is a boutique experience, offering second-hand designer clothing and new, highly giftable, earth-kind products.
The BUV extends a warm congratulations to Green Collect on a very well-deserved award!