Vinnies sparking an e-waste revolution

Lily D'Ambrosio and Jeff Antcliff speak at the Green Sparks launch.

Used electrical goods will get a second chance thanks to a new test and tag program run by The St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria (Vinnies) through its dedicated Vinnies Shops division.

Almost 200 volunteers have been trained and deployed across more than 100 Victorian Vinnies shops as part of the Green Sparks Program, which will enable stores to receive, test, tag and resell donations of quality electrical goods, reducing the amount of e-waste in the state.

Jeff Antcliff, Vinnies Victoria Executive General Manager Commercial Services, said the launch of the program formalised the group’s commitment to reducing e-waste in the community.

Vinnies Green Sparks poster
Image courtesy of Vinnies.

“Vinnies Shops was awarded a $250,000 grant to support this project in September 2021 from the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund,” he said.

“We haven’t wasted any time bringing our vision to life. Vinnies Shops across the state now have dedicated battery disposal hubs and Green Sparks test and tag volunteers, who are trained and ready to assess and test quality electrical goods. We are a one-stop-shop for people looking to donate or purchase quality second-hand electrical goods.”

Launching the program at the weekend, Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, said supporting initiatives such as Green Sparks would help find better homes for electronic goods and keep them out of landfill.

“In 2019-20, we had 105,000 tonnes of e-waste material simply delivered to council premises – that’s just in that one year alone,” she said. “It is a growing problem, and it’s one that we need to address.”

It is estimated the program will divert about 100,000 electrical products from landfill every year – totalling aboaut 100 tonnes.

Antcliff said that while Vinnies is creating a solutions-focused initiative to repurpose electrical goods, he didn’t want to see stores become destinations for careless disposal.

“If it is good enough to give to your family, it is good enough to give to Vinnies – we welcome as new or fully functioning electrical products, to be donated during our shop opening hours,” he said.

The Recycling Victoria Communities Fund is delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government.

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