The most 'bin-spiring' stories from 2019

Here is our compilation of the top feel-good stories from 2019 including a demonstration of community spirit at its best, a recycling wedding and more


December 12, 2019


“Everyone has been so amazing and generous. It really gives you faith. I’m really excited for the future now and I haven’t felt that way in three years.” – Stephanie Stevens

Tags: community

“Everyone has been so amazing and generous. It really gives you faith. I’m really excited for the future now and I haven’t felt that way in three years.” – Stephanie Stevens

Saying ‘I do!’ to recycling

A recycled wedding Instagram

Credit: A recycled wedding Instagram

Sunshine Coast couple Leonie Starr and Matthew Porter set out to fund their wedding by collecting containers for refunds through Queensland’s container return scheme. A year after starting their journey, the couple collected almost 100,000 containers and over $9,000.

The Queensland bride-to-be was glad that their story inspired others to fund their own dreams through the scheme. “I’ve had quite a few people message me,” said Leonie. “Some are collecting for weddings of their own, and others for cars, pet lizards, and even IVF.”

A recycling wedding Facebook

Credit: A recycling wedding Facebook

In Western Sydney, Ellie and Darren were inspired to fund their April 2020 wedding through NSW’s container deposit scheme – Return and Earn. The $7,581 they have collected to date paid for their wedding rings and reception, and all future funds will go towards their honeymoon. The entire neighbourhood got in on the action, with total strangers dropping off bottles and cans at the couple’s home.

“A lot of people gave us a good laugh and said, ‘you won’t get there’,” Darren said. “Look where we are now.”

We were pleased to host the happy couple at our Eastern Creek container sorting facility in November, giving them an inside look at how containers are sorted and processed for recycling.


Townsville comes together to clean up after the storm

helicopter carrying a bin
As a long-standing service provider to the Townsville region, Cleanaway were quick to respond during the floods that impacted the area early this year. Led by Branch Manager Rick Carr, Cleanaway immediately mobilised bins, vehicles and labour to assist with storm clean up efforts.

Eight 12 and 30 cubic metre bulk bins were deployed and placed in strategic locations as advised by Townsville Council. One of the bins (pictured below) was used by the Army to deliver aid to a remote site at Hervey Range that was completely cut off by the flood waters.

The team also worked hard to ensure all scheduled services were collected where access was possible. Similar support was extended to the Burdekin and Whitsundays areas supported by Cleanaway depots in Burdekin and Bowen. Another team led by Cleanaway Human Resources EGM, Joh Birgersson, donated supplies and gift vouchers to flood victims through GIVIT’s Queensland Floods Appeal. Part of the donation was used by Community Gro to provide fridges, a mattress, clothing and gift vouchers to the local Garbutt community affected by the floods.


Young Ivy overcomes her fear of garbage trucks

Young Ivy overcomes her fear of garbage trucks

Remember Sinead Nolan, one of Cleanaway’s women behind the wheels? Our dedicated side-lift truck driver helped young Ivy overcome her fear of trucks with an unforgettable visit to her home.

According to Ivy’s dad Michael, the sight of a garbage truck used to terrify her. “Ivy would be in tears and screams, running as fast as her little legs would take her to avoid the noise, flashing lights and sight of the truck. This was the situation for some time now but when was escalating I thought, what can I do?”

This was before Sinead’s visit where Ivy had a chance to sit in the passenger’s seat and learn all about what goes on in a collections truck. Michael was amazed with Ivy’s “transformation”.

“Initially Ivy was pretty uncomfortable and didn’t really want to have anything of it but with Sinead’s assistance, friendliness and patience, my daughter’s whole mood began to change. Sinead explained and educated Ivy on all of the gadgets and processes involved in regular day to day bin collection. Later, Ivy was more than happy and content – she actually didn’t want to get out of the truck!” said Michael.

“A huge thanks to Sinead, Ivy’s garbage truck driver friend and the team at Cleanaway. l’m sure like most industries, the majority of your customer feedback will be complaints, not positive like our experience so I thought l would take the time to write this email.” wrote Michael in an email to Cleanaway.


Building a forever home for Stephanie

Stephanie Stevens reacts to the reveal of her new home

When Stephanie Stevens lost her husband and then her house, the community and Cleanaway stepped up to build her and her little boy, Ollie, a new home.

“When we heard about Steph and Ollie, we knew we had to assist. Seeing the look on their faces when they saw their new home simply made our day,” said Bhavna Torul, Branch Manager Malaga.

The Cleanaway Malaga team provided skip bins during the renovation process, and collected 25 skip bins worth of construction waste, including two asbestos removal bins.

Thanks to the entire community coming together to support the single mum, Stephanie’s forever home was completed in no time.

“This is our dream home, it’s better than anything I could have imagined giving Ollie and I can’t wait to start our new life,” she said. “Everyone has been so amazing and generous. It really gives you faith. I’m really excited for the future now and I haven’t felt that way in three years.”


One man’s recycling is another’s treasure

Cleanaway Rob Gorman lost medal

What would you do if you found a Defence Force Service Medal in the bin? For Chandler Resource Recovery Centre Operator Rob Gorman, there was no question that the medal had to be reunited with its owner. Rob understood the significance of the medal, having spent eight years in the Royal Australian Engineers unit of the Australian Army as a Civil Construction Plant Operator.

Armed with solid detective skills, Rob discovered that the medal belonged to a 70-year-old soldier who had recently passed away. It had accidentally been disposed of along with other recycling that ended up at Chandler Resource Recovery Centre.

One of his long-time mates, Ted, met Rob to collect the medal and thanked him for the time and effort invested into returning the precious memento.

Contact us to find out more about how we’re making a sustainable future possible for communities across Australia.