An innovative recycling initiative is helping the planet, and supporting wellbeing, one bread tag and plastic lid at a time.
Corpus Christi Aged Care Residence in Clayton, run by not-for-profit organisation VMCH, collects and sorts plastic bread tags and lids to be remade or sold for environmental groups.
In one month, the first load of 34,484 bread tags (11.5kg) was shipped off for recycling with proceeds funding wheelchairs for people in South Africa via Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs (61 wheelchairs since it began in 2018).
The lids are washed, dried, sorted by polymer and colour and sent to Rethink Recycling Co-op (RRC) to be remanufactured into meaningful products.
VMCH physiotherapist and RRC co-founder Caitlyn Socwell, who introduced the program, was thrilled with its progress.
"Residents say it makes them feel good knowing they are giving back to a greater cause, leaving them with a renewed sense of purpose and fulfilment. Plastic lids sorting also encourages residents with advanced dementia, who may not otherwise participate in activities, to become involved."
While the concept of sustainability is nothing new to residents, Caitlyn said they enjoy learning about the latest initiatives.
"Their generations typically grew up in times of conflict or shortages - a time when you fix what's broken and use it until it's gone. However, residents are often surprised by interesting sustainability facts that highlight the state of our climate."
Caitlyn said RRC, together with Puppets Alive, is looking to expand the program to aged care and disability services across Melbourne. Corpus Christi is already a registered community collection and sorting centre for community members.
"Not only do we want to rescue plastic from landfill and our environment, we want to integrate these residents back into the community and provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
"Given the current climate crisis, making a positive impact on my local Australian community is my ultimate goal - helping its people, its planet and its profit."