By Trish Bowman
UpCycle CQ volunteers are hard at work utilising every component of unwanted goods that would have otherwise been disposed of, in a bid to demonstrate the endless opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and keep our resources circulating in the community.
This week, the group took another step forward with recycling all the components of emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).
Coastguard spokesperson Arthur Hunt said he was excited to see the components of the EPIRBs broken down for reuse elsewhere.
“Previously when people have brought their old EPIRBs into the Coastguard we would have put them in the bin,” Mr Hunt said.
“UpCycle CQ are now taking them apart and recycling every component including the metal, plastic and the batteries.
“This is another fine example of reducing waste previously destined for our overflowing landfill and saving our natural resources.”
Founder and Managing Director of UpCycle CQ, James Callam is thrilled the group have established another source of unwanted goods that can be put to good use.
He can’t help getting excited about the prospect of continuing to expand the not-for-profit group further while educating people about the endless possibilities of use for unwanted goods.
Mr Callam could easily boast about his broad skill base as teacher, lecturer, entrepreneur, child safety officer, Yeppoon Lions member, the list goes on, but his real passion revolves around continuing to learn more about how he can make a difference to his community and the environment.
“In the past the majority of our waste was bio-organic, today it is quite a different story,” he said.
“In the modern age people love their technology, we have developed a cycle of material culture. When something is broken or no longer used, people become disenchanted and devalue things.
“At UpCycle CQ we encourage people to become innovative and create an environment of makers to keep goods in the use cycle.
“It is not so much about just getting people to value things, we want them to value add.
“It is about creating a cradle-to-cradle circular philosophy where goods are repurposed back into our community rather than cradle to grave.
“It is also about creating wealth and encouraging people to be innovative.”
Founded in 2019 courtesy of a Livingstone Shire Council start up grant, the group of around 20 volunteers (the numbers are still growing) are not just helping to recycle, reuse or repurpose, they are learning new skills, sharing their own skills with others, and helping to reduce waste going to landfill.
“UpCycle CQ is ever evolving with more people coming along to lend a hand,” Mr Callam said.
“We are constantly looking for areas of application, how we can work with other groups and how we can help others to upskill.
“We have ladies who have never used a screwdriver here weekly helping to dissemble goods and separate components.
“We have people learning to think innovatively to create new uses for those components.
“Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, and we all learn from each other.”
Mr Callam said the group also facilitate workshops with schools, PCYC, businesses and other groups in a bid to encourage people to alter the way they think.
“I enjoy the workshops with children where they are encouraged to think more laterally and come up with solutions. Developing young entrepreneurs and encouraging them to think for themselves will help to embed vital skills they can use throughout their lives.
“We have invited local community organisations and social enterprises to come together at workshops and explore their sustainability issues and challenges, providing a platform to share experiences and identify common organisational themes that are negatively impacting their desired social/environmental outcomes.
“We have many more areas we are yet to explore. Ultimately, I would love to see UpCycle CQ grow to include workshops in all our regions council areas where we can collaborate to further increase our ability to nurture and grow this initiative.
“We need to see our recycling chains grow and create new ones.
“We could become an environmental tourism hot spot where people can come and take the knowledge of what we are doing back to their own regions.”