Turning Trash into Treasure: Community Engagement at Dulacca Wind Farm
by RES | Nov 16, 2022 | Reading time: 2 min
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. In the case of the Dulacca Wind Farm construction site, a project in Central Queensland, Australia, the contractors on site are donating packaging waste to a local high school and the wider community, demonstrating that community engagement and contribution can go further than traditional funding. While financial contributions in the form of community funds is highly valued by communities, there are other opportunities to create immediate benefits locally.
At Dulacca Wind Farm, turbines were rapidly constructed with parts regularly delivered to the site from the Port of Brisbane. Inverter cables were shipped with a protective covering of high-quality timber panels, bolts and tin. While standard practice ordinarily sees the packaging discarded, the Dulacca Wind Farm environmental manager organised for the project to donate the timber, tin and bolts to a local trade school in a neighbouring town, Miles High School, for repurposing.
At Miles High School, the trade program is ordinarily allocated a budget of $18,000 to purchase materials for the school. These funds are calculated by state government on a per-head basis and with the rural school being quite small (and the cost of materials increasing) these funds are stretched thin.
With the recycling donations from Dulacca, Miles High School has more than enough materials to make their entire materials budget redundant, and this funding can now be reallocated elsewhere within the school. The students have a regular supply of materials, all from the Dulacca packaging waste, to build their assessment projects, including:
- high-quality timber (including rare Canadian spruce) which is repurposed as tables, dog houses, small pieces of furniture etc;
- bolts, screws and nails; and
- tin, which is folded and repurposed as toolboxes.
The value of these donations has been calculated by the school as upwards of $25,000 in timber, steel and fixings.
The contractors on site at Dulacca have embraced the exchange with the high school, removing the fixings from the timber prior to donating to ensure it is ready for use for the students. In thanks, the Miles High School students built a lunch table and bench for the construction workers at Dulacca out of the recycled timber.
Recycling of the packaging waste from Dulacca has also been extended to landowners and locals, who could pick up directly from hardstands on site.