Di Luxton, Site Manager for SORT Grafton - who deal with e-waste and refurbished computers.
Di Luxton, Site Manager for SORT Grafton - who deal with e-waste and refurbished computers. Adam Hourigan

Refurbishment facility cuts Valley e-waste and unemployment

THE latest Clarence Valley business is all about ensuring our eWaste goes down while employment goes up.

Not-for-profit social enterprise SORT Recycling Limited has recently implemented a site in the Clarence Valley with a focus on dealing with eWaste by refurbishing technology and selling it at a lower cost to low-income earners and third world countries, while providing disadvantaged jobseekers an opportunity to get practical experience in the field.

SORT works with people on the Work for the Dole program to get them practical experience while building confidence, job skills and getting them ready for future employment.

SORT Grafton site manager Di Luxton, who has lived in the Clarence Valley for almost 15 years, said she definitely saw a need for the program here.

"I would not be here running this program if I didn't believe in the Work for the Dole program," Ms Luxton said.

"The opportunity that our participants will have is something they can give back to the community.

"It is also much needed training for them. They aren't just learning how to refurbish computers, they are also learning about business - how it works, how it runs and how to be successful.

"They are also learning what I call foster skills. Things like communication skills, customer service, confidence in their work, and having a reason to wake up in the morning."

The Grafton site already has 30 participants working to refurbish old computer units that have been donated by Grafton High School, CHS Training and several private donors.

Ms Luxton said the relatively high unemployment rate in the Clarence Valley was a driving force behind the development of a site here.

"One of the reasons why Grafton was selected to be one of the facilities was because it was a community that was seen to have a need," she said.

"I think there has always been a need for a program like this. In the sense that do communities like this need work for the dole in general, I think they definitely do.

"In regards to eWaste, we definitely need it.

"We're reducing the transportation of eWaste as well as the eWaste levels in general.

"I want to see every one of our participants gain skills and confidence enough to walk out and find themselves jobs whether in the Valley or beyond."

Taking donations

SORT Grafton is still undergoing renovation work to 121 Pound St site (the old Highland Bicycles shop) but is taking any old computer donations that people can part with.

Any computer that is donated to SORT for refurbishment goes through a strict wiping process before work is started to ensure all previous information is removed from the system. The refurbished models are then loaded with all correct software for immediate use.

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