Waste paper kitty litter offers employment for north Queenslanders with disability

Waste paper kitty litter offers employment for north Queenslanders with disability

Could the contents of your cat's litter tray help create jobs?

A trial project by Endeavour Foundation Townsville is turning confidential documents into paper shreds that are sold to a Queensland company that turns it into kitty litter.

Endeavour Foundation Townsville site manager Paul Oliver said the project not only finds a new life for waste paper, it creates safe and supported employment for people with a disability.

"People with disabilities find it very hard to enter the open employment market," Mr Oliver said.

"They can struggle to adapt to society or deal with the challenges that are thrown at them.

"We find that paper shredding or document destruction is something the guys are really able to do well."

Waste paper and e-waste a growing focus

The Townsville Endeavour site has four streams of production: document destruction, baling cloth scraps, fabricating steel roof channels, and removing valuable metals from e-waste.

Pamela Daniels has been working at the site since 2010 and said she has seen the waste processing component of the enterprise really grow in that time.

"We used to have [clothing] donation sorting and so many cloth cutters over that side a couple of years back, but everything changed with the e-waste and document destruction coming through."

Mr Oliver said they hoped to expand the two-year trial of document destruction to generate income to reinvest in their programs and facilities.

"At the moment we are looking for more income revenue and more volume to be able to make this sustainable," he said.

Creating a pathway to employment

Ben Anderson has been working at Endeavour Townsville for eight years.

Mr Anderson is interested in technology and said while he had tried nearly every job on site, he enjoyed pulling apart the e-waste.

"Just seeing what is inside and seeing all the circuit boards and everything," Mr Anderson said.

"I feel very, very happy that I have been having such a good time here, I just love that we have evolved from a small worksite to a really big production area."

Mr Oliver said the different streams of work meant they could pair employees with a task that was suited to their ability and interests.

"We can bring people in, find out what their skills are and set them up in a job which suits their skills and that helps them with communication and interaction with other people," he said.

"We want to transfer skills … and provide them with a pathway to open employment."


SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-14/kitty-litter-project-offers-emplo...