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Wastebusters contributes $1.2 million to local economy


The community enterprise had remained a major employer in Wanaka

 Wanaka Wastebusters manager Sue Coutts said that accounts prepared for the end of the financial year showed that the community enterprise had remained a major employer in Wanaka, despite the loss of the kerbside recycling contract.
The community enterprise currently employs 25 people, including some with special needs, and paid $1,020,895 in wages to people living in Wanaka last year.
“Part of our vision is to provide meaningful jobs for people in our community. It was one of the biggest positives in a challenging year that we managed to keep on nearly all our permanent employees,” said Ms Coutts.
“However it was a real blow that the loss of the contract meant that we had to let go four of our permanent staff. We’ll also miss the energy that the extra casual employees brought to Wastebusters during the busy seasons.”
Ms Coutts said the community enterprise put 76% of its $1.61 million turnover back into the Wanaka economy last year, spending $1,225,125 locally.
The local spend included $204,203 on buying goods and services from local businesses, including mechanics, electricians and uniform suppliers.
The Chair of the Wanaka Wastebusters Executive Committee, Russell McGeorge, said the community enterprise had achieved a surplus, despite a financially difficult year.
“The result achieved was as budgeted, demonstrating the strength of our financial management systems. These systems will stand us in good stead as we make the most of the opportunities coming our way in the next year.”
Ms Coutts said priorities for Wanaka Wastebusters for the rest of 2012 are improving the experience of people visiting the recycling centre, and expanding its education for sustainability programmes.
“The Unpackit Awards and the Smart Packaging project, which have received funding from the Waste Minimisation Fund, have raised Wastebusters profile nationwide as an organisation working to minimise packaging waste,” she said.
“Working with businesses around the country, we can see that momentum is gathering for smarter packaging which has a minimal impact on the environment.
“Our aim is to build on the last two years’ work to help businesses reduce the amount of packaging waste ending up in the landfill, and give consumers better packaging choices.”

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