A north Queensland recycling centre is providing employment for individuals on work for the dole by helping locals dispose of IT equipment such as printers and scanners.
ABC News reported that E-Hub Mackay and E-Hub Sarina opened a few weeks ago, which sees IT equipment pulled apart and sorted by work for the dole members for recycling.
Project supervisor Frank Mason told ABC News the centres allowed for high-tech skills training and prepared workers for stable employment – in addition to reducing waste.
“We are running this as a social enterprise, utilising some people that are on the work for the dole program, basically giving them a reason to get out of bed,” Mr Mason said.
“They’re pulling them apart into their components — the steel, the plastic, the electronic components — and sorting them out, to work out whether it’s possible to re-use these parts.
“Things like motors, things like rods, things like wiring boards, we’re looking at how we might use them. And one of the ideas we’ve got is to turn it into a 3D printer.”
Mr Mason said Mackay’s E-Hub collected more than three tonne of printers in its first two weeks alone that would usually end up in landfill.
“It actually costs you money to take it to the waste transfer station.”
Mr Mason said a 3D printer could be built from just a couple of office copiers and some bespoke parts, excluding the extruder and controller.
“You need the 3D printers to make some of the parts, so the plastic turns into filament, and then to make some of the components that hold the printer together.”
“The 3D printer will help make the next 3D printer.