eWaste Connection, a community initiative in Kenmore Hills that provides a lifeline for people with disabilities and promotes e-waste reduction and sustainability, is one of the standout finalists for the annual WasteSMART People’s Choice Award.
eWaste Connection runs workshops for individuals with disabilities six days a week. Together, they recycle, repair, or refurbish all types of electronic and electrical waste.
The refurbished items are then donated to domestic violence refuges and other charitable organisations, which sell them at affordable prices. In 2022, the eWaste Connection community volunteered an impressive total of 4,914 hours, diverting a staggering 114,642 kilograms of e-waste from ending up in landfills.
How eWaste Connection Started
Monique Lowndes, a dedicated mother, embarked on a mission to provide a meaningful purpose for her son with disabilities. Her inspiration came from noticing her son’s fascination with disassembling electronic devices, which led her and her family to establish a group dedicated to dismantling electronic materials and finding ways to recycle their components.
Today, their initiative is thriving, with new locations and over 230,000 kilograms of eWaste recycled. More than 250 participants have engaged in eWaste workshops, underscoring the growing demand for their work in the community.
The significance of their efforts goes beyond recycling. They offer valuable opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged members of the community, providing them with a sense of purpose. Furthermore, they extend support to the families and caregivers of the participants by offering much-needed respite.
The project’s remarkable efforts have earned them recognition in the past, with eWaste Connection previously receiving the WasteSMART Community Award in 2020 and the WasteSMART Business Award in 2022. Their consistent commitment to sustainability and community engagement has led to their nomination as an All-Star finalist for the 2023 WasteSMART People’s Choice Award.
Monique is also a member of the Rotary Club of Kenmore.
About the WasteSMART Awards
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, spoke enthusiastically about the WasteSMART Awards.
“Brisbane is recognised as Australia’s cleanest and greenest capital city, and I want to make sure it gets even better for future generations. The WasteSMART People’s Choice Award recognises individuals, community groups, and businesses who undertake waste-smart activities with a $350 prize up for grabs,” he said.
The People’s Choice category includes various finalists, ranging from charity and not-for-profit groups diverting various types of waste from landfills to innovative businesses using methods such as worm farms, establishing produce gardens, and creating in-house sustainability teams. These finalists are exemplary examples of the sustainability initiatives that are helping to maintain Brisbane’s reputation as a clean and green city.
The WasteSMART Awards, organised by the Brisbane Sustainability Agency on behalf of the Brisbane City Council, are proudly sponsored by Containers for Change Queensland, Cleanaway, and The University of Queensland. The winners in the 12 WasteSMART Award categories, with a combined prize pool of over $4,000, will be announced during a ceremony at Brisbane City Hall in November 2023.