STAWELL - Paul Stephens is determined to ensure that recycling still has a presence and a future in Stawell, despite the closure of Vatmi Recycling three months ago.
The former Stawell site manager has set up a new business 'Stawell Cardboard and Recycling' which is servicing the community.
The commercial arm of the Vatmi business was sold to Statewide Recycling, but Mr Stephens has maintained the contract for Stawell, Halls Gap and some of Ararat through his new venture.
Collections take place weekly or fortnightly depending on the clients preference.
The business has taken up residence across from the closed Vatmi site at Camo's Tyre Disposal Stawell, 9 Haughton Street.
The core business specialises in cardboard, newsprint, magazines and battery recycling with Mr Stephens hoping to expand to purchasing aluminium cans from school groups.
He said with volumes of recyclable material picking up in spring and summer he is in a good position to grow the business.
"It is beneficial to have the tyre and cardboard recycling all under the one umbrella at this stage," he said.
"Hopefully the business will grow over the next year or two and down the track I will have my own shed."
Mr Stephens said he aims to employ a casual worker in the near future and there is the potential for more employees down the track considering the demand and volumes of material that was sorted when Vatmi was in operation.
Stawell Cardboard and Recycling is also providing a price effective service for smaller local businesses with security bags an alternative option to lockable bins which cost more.
Mr Stephens' decision to take on the business fills a hole left by the closure of Vatmi, gives the commercial business an option and provides a service to those that don't receive kerbside pick-up.
"At the end of the day it returns some ownership of where people send their recycling, to the town," he said.
"If we didn't have this people wouldn't know where it would go. This is high quality recycling - where the material goes back into things that are more valuable.
"It is another avenue because the demand is still there, albeit in a different format, on a smaller scale but it still exists."
Vatmi Recycling ceased its operations in Stawell, with the loss of 20 jobs on June 27 after a decision was made to close the site at the beginning of May.
The closure came as a result of the Northern Grampians Shire Council's decision to award the new contract for the provision of recycling services to Warrnambool company, Wheelie Waste.
Mr Stephens said he was working with the council which has been very supportive of his efforts to get the locally run business off the ground.
If you are interested in knowing more about the service you can contact Paul Stephens at 'Stawell Cardboard and Recycling' on 0425 420 550.