Coolamon Lions Club and Junee Correctional Centre join forces to recycle and fund local organisations
Inmates at Junee Correctional Centre have found a way to help the planet and give back to the community by recycling containers through Return and Earn.
The centre recently began recycling cans with help from the Coolamon Lions Club, which runs its own Return and Earn return point.
With nearly 1,000 inmates residing at Junee Correctional Centre, the number of empty containers adds up fast – more than the capacity of the closest return point in Junee. The Lions Club, based 30-minutes away, were happy to provide a solution.
The club facilitates regular drop off times for Junee Correctional Centre and hold on to the centre’s containers until they can be collected.
Inmates within the centre are employed as ‘recycling champions’, responsible for collecting and sorting the containers.
Centre Vocational Services Manager, Donna Moulds, said recycling the cans helps give purpose to the inmates.
“Having meaningful employment is very good for their wellbeing. It assists them to rehabilitate and develop employability skills ahead of release. Being able to give back to the community means a lot to many of the men,” she said.
While the initial idea to recycle containers aimed to reduce the centre’s environmental impact and create employment, the initiative also raises money for the inmates to donate to worthy causes such as the Eugowra Flood appeal.
Charles Luyt from the Coolamoon Lions Club said the partnership has boosted their container recycling numbers enormously.
“Our first pick up from the centre a few months ago was 18,500 cans. Since then, they do a drop off every two or three weeks, averaging around 4,500 cans a week,” he said.
The Lions Club were previously receiving 25,000 to 35,000 containers per month, but thanks to the correctional centre’s efforts they now process over 50,000 each month.
In another win for the partnership, funds raised by the club for hosting the return point have helped them to launch the new Coolamoon Lions Club Return and Earn Community Grant. This will provide grants of up to $2,000 to individuals, organisations and groups for projects that will benefit the community.