Social enterprise Resource Recovery Australia (RRA) diverted 2583 tonnes of waste from landfill for reuse and recycling across its MidCoast operations in 2019-20.
Announcing the result on National Recycling Week 2020, RRA general manager Matt Curtis said: "It's been a challenging year for RRA with fires at two of its sites, Moss Vale and Tuncurry, and COVID-19 shut-downs.
"Our people remained in high spirits under the testing conditions that 2020 has thrown at us and have done themselves and the company proud in delivering these results.
"Across the country, RRA diverted 1573 tonnes of waste from landfill for reuse and 5096 tonnes for recycling in 2019-20. At the same time, we provided 104 employment opportunities."
RRA is a national social enterprise that works in waste management to keep waste out of landfill, create jobs for people experiencing barriers to work and to engage and connect people in our communities. RRA operates in NSW, QLD and the ACT across seven regions.
RRA has been working with MidCoast Council since 1991 to divert waste from landfill and provide employment and training opportunities to people experiencing barriers to employment.
It operates four sites across the MidCoast at Tuncurry, Bulahdelah, Stroud and Tea Gardens.
Ross Manolas joined as MidCoast operations manager this year, bringing 28 years' experience at Sydney's major landfill sites, including supervising the remediation of the former landfill site that became home to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
"I looked into RRA and realised I would be able to help people learn skills and get ahead in life by passing on my experience. It resonated with me," he said.
"Governments at all levels are looking at ways to reduce waste, promote a circular economy and support social enterprises like ours.
"For us, waste diversion is only part of the story. This year we provided employment and training opportunities for 28 local people."
In October 2019 the Tuncurry site was evacuated three times due to bushfires threatening the Tuncurry site.
The green waste caught fire and continued to smoulder until March. With a water tanker on site, it was up to the team to pull together and keep on top of spot fires for the five-month period.
The automated container deposit scheme depot at Tuncurry Waste Management Centre celebrated two years in August 2020 and 12.6 million containers recycled. The program supports local charities with customers donating their refunds to rural fire services, a local women's shelter, Riding for the Disabled and the Salvation Army.
The MidCoast Return and Earn transitioned to card-only refunds due to COVID and recycled more than six million eligible containers in 2019-20.