How disadvantaged kids benefit recycled packaging

Getting rid of the used packaging is always a problem. Discarded crates, pallets, plastic wrapping, ties and cardboard take up valuable space and can be hard to dispose of. Greig Maver at Maverick Equipment in Surrey Hills, Victoria, has had that problem comprehensively solved for him.

He was working in his office one day a few months ago when he heard a visitor talking to a colleague in the outer office. The visitor was asking if the company had any spare crates. Greig was smartly out of his office asking how many were wanted.

The visitor turned out to be John Preston, recently retired director of property and insurance services for the Uniting Church. For the past 16 years John and his wife, Jenny, have been supporting disabled, orphaned and vulnerable children in Zambia and sending them clothing, books and equipment.

Packing the shipments had always been a problem so John decided to pop his head in the door of nearby Maverick to ask about used crates. He certainly went to the right place as Greig, in common with other firms, had an excess of crates and other packing equipment that machines and other gear had arrived in.

John and his wife, Jenny, became regular visitors to Maverick and began creating their own packing equipment out of leftovers. As Greig describes it, “all sorts of material” went into creating the packing containers for their Zambian goods. “One packing case they made up came from a wooden crate from Denmark, cardboard from Japan and plywood from Sweden”, he says.

The recycled material Maverick provided was far superior to the tea chests the Prestons used previously. The Prestons also found uses for other used packing material such as plastic bags from Amcor Flexibles. These are filled with clothes and the air removed by vacuum providing more space in containers and making the goods easy to see when they arrive in Zambia.

John and Jenny are involved with a training school in the rural Zambian city of Choma that teaches carpentry, sewing and computer studies as well as supporting local communities with clothes and other needs.

“Maverick have been extremely helpful to us with the provision of space in their warehouse, letting us use timber crates and packing materials, lending their truck and providing hospitality to our volunteers, says John. “We have packed thousands of knitted singlets and blankets for babies, seven sewing machines and over a ton of sewing materials and requisites and clothes for the village school communities in Zambia.

“Jenny and I had tried desperately to find crates for the shipment and at Maverick I just walked into paradise. “There were many surplus crates from their importing of handling equipment, lots of cardboard and plastic sheeting to line the crates. Because the singlets and blankets are all knitted, Greig arranged plastic bags to pack 50 singlets into each pack, a commercial vacuum cleaner to remove air, a strapping machine to stop expansion and sealing ties. “Greig has also helped with the arranging for the crates to be shipped to Zambia.”

Greig said Maverick, whose business is supplying lifting gear to a range of customers from oil rigs, airlines to a boutique olive oil manufacturer, is enjoying this unorthodox addition to its operations. “We are recycling materials that would otherwise clutter the place or be thrown out and we are helping a really good cause.”

Article originally published in Industry Update Manufacturing Magazinewww.industryupdate.com.au

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