13.8 C
Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Your old rags can become Vinnies’ riches

Latest News

Trains on roads

Soon we will have electric self-driving cars. The number of cars around the world could drop to ten per...

Other News

Lismore is getting set to celebrate diversity with Pride Month

June will see the celebration of Pride Month and Lismore will be celebrating with Project Pride.  ‘Lismore and the rainbow...

The 2024 budget wash up

It's impossible to make everyone happy on budget night, but Treasurer Jim Chalmers' 2024 effort has upset more than most, as the government struggles to avoid inflation rebounding, make more things in Australia, and do something about the cost of living.

Lost in pronunciaton

Ivan Aristeguieta is ridiculously funny. What’s better is watching people try and pronounce his name – and then of course, it’s his deep dive into Aussie culture. Ivan has lived in Australia for ten years – as he says ‘living amongst you, observing you, learning about you’ – and now he makes a very good living taking the piss out of you. ‘I am a true blue, dinky-di Venez-stralian. Nah, she’ll be right! (Who is she by the way?).’

Shh – it’s Secret Bridesmaid’s Business

It is the very eve of Meg’s wedding – her mother is fussing over every detail and her best friends are doing little to help. The wedding is the gala event that Meg has dreamed of since she was a girl and one that has taken far too long to come true. But, anything that can go wrong does until the veil is lifted on an unhappy secret, and Meg’s dream is rocked by a revelation she doesn’t want to be true.

Consumer watchdog asked to investigate MasterChef ‘renewable gas’ claims

Claims that ‘renewable gas’ is making MasterChef 'greener' are under scrutiny following a complaint to the ACCC.

Outdoor pickleball courts for Alstonville

Alstonville now boasts tournament-standard pickleball courts that opened to an enthusiastic crowd and players earlier this month. The eight new...

Cutter and sorter Kaylene Rugendyke, Lismore and operations manager Angelo Grande pictured at the Matthew Talbot Clothing Recycling Centre, Goonellabah.

Robin Osborne. Photos: Jacklyn Wagner

Some workplaces, like Southern Cross University’s School of Arts, get through less than one pack a week, others, like Lismore Nissan & Kia, use nearly one per day, preferring flannelette because it’s ideal for removing the polish from their spotless vehicles.

Whatever the purpose, from polishing cars and high-class furniture, to mopping up paint or grease in workshops, or cleaning valuable plates used in print-making, recycled rags made from donated clothing are prized by North Coast businesses.

Marketed as ‘Vinnies Bag O Rags’, they are also an important fundraising source for St Vincent de Paul Society, which processes and packs huge quantities of them in its clothing recycling centre in Goonellabah. The 1600-square metre centre is named after Matthew Talbot, a 19th century Dublin ascetic who is an inspiration for ex-alcoholics worldwide.

‘We’re the largest such facility in regional NSW, handling one-fifth of the state’s total clothing donations,’ says Vinnies recycling and waste manager Angelo Grande. He explains that while the pick of the donations are sold in Vinnies bargain shops, the lesser quality wearables are exported and the remainder turned into usable rags.

‘It’s the ultimate recycling operation,’ he says, proudly, adding that his team of 20 remove all buttons and zippers – ‘You wouldn’t want to polish your car with a zipper!’  – and then blade-shred the rags for compacting into packs weighing from 5kg up to 200kg pallets.

Materials are mixed cotton, flannelette, cotton t-shirt and the top of the range, white cotton, that retails for $16 per 5kg pack.

Long-time users like Lismore’s McKeeCo General Engineering and Lismore Nissan & Kia speak highly about the humble product that supports local workers as well helping Vinnies community projects and local people doing it tough.

SCU’s artists are other fans, using the pure cotton on easily damaged copper plates as well as cutting up rags, wetting and beating them into pulp, and making special paper that students use in their printmaking.

Who would have thought cast-off t-shirts could have such an after-life?

Like the region’s many other users the SCU art staff and students enjoy supporting a local not-for-profit dedicated to community service. Lecturer Darren Bryant looks to his students for comment. They quickly nod agreement – no doubt they’re Vinnies bargain shoppers as well.

Learning of SCU’s rag usage, a far cry from wiping grease off industrial equipment (McKees) or cleaning sump oil from serviced vehicles (Lismore Nissan & Kia), Angelo Grande says, ‘This really is breathing new life into unwanted materials, and importantly it is reducing the flow of waste going to landfill.’

He estimates that each year the factory despatches several hundred tonnes of compressed rag packs to both end-users and the 28 Vinnies shops around the North Coast where they are stocked.

‘We believe there’s no such word as ‘waste’,’ Angelo quips, ‘and I reckon we’re putting that commitment into practice, truckload by truckload.’

Angelo Grande can be contacted for orders and inquiries on 0438 832 527.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Posters gone

I am writing to bring attention to a growing issue in our community – the removal of community posters. As a resident of this...

Bimbo Jimbo

For Treasurer Jim Chalmers to say that it was ‘simpler’ to just give everyone the energy rebate of $75 per quarter is stupid but...

Cartoon of the week – 22 May, 2024

The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

We Like to Tiki: Caper festival closing party this Sunday

North Byron Hotel is the official watering hole of Caper Byron Bay Food & Culture Festival 2024. To celebrate what is set to be...