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Vollies need new HQ | The West Australian

A local volunteer group offering tangible reuse of wasteful plastics is facing homelessness.

Started in 2018, Precious Plastic Margaret River is raising funds for a new headquarters as it faces the expiry of its lease in Cowaramup.

Co-founder Narelle Kuppers told the Times the rezoning of the shed for coffee business Red Feather meant the recycling innovators needed a new and permanent base.

“We have been able to secure this shed at low rent for the past 18 months because the block was believed to be contaminated,” she said. “We need a shed of the same size, 15m x 15m, to continue to provide education to school classes, a location for special needs people to come and colour-sort plastic, and a location that is inclusive to the wider community to come and volunteer in a positive environment that contributes to saving the planet.”

While the group was one of the beneficiaries of the recent Shire of Augusta-Margaret River economic stimulus program, the Times understands the Shire wasn’t able to help Precious Plastic find a new home.

While launching its fundraiser, the group said it was also seeking philanthropic support from residents or a business which could offer a suitable premises.

“What is available is too expensive for us to rent, and very little is available,” Ms Kuppers said. “Grants don’t cover rent or ongoings. We are trying to crowdfund to secure some land to build a permanent shed.”

Precious Plastic collects bottle tops, bread clips and other items which cannot be recycled without specialist attention.

The Cowaramup shed frequently hosts high school students for classes, offering practical solutions to the fight against climate change, and offers plastic-sorting therapy sessions for special needs residents and elderly people in local aged care homes. The classes also combat frequent misinformation around recycling and focus on how to prevent plastics entering landfill, Ms Kuppers said.

“We attend local festivals to reach out to the community and show what can be done with single-use plastic,” she said. “We also sell items that replace single-use plastic at these events to raise money to build more machines.”

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown said the latest funding gave Precious Plastic $19,000 to increase business efficiency but the Shire could not offer the group a home.

“The Shire does not own a suitable facility for this group to lease,” she said.

“We will continue having a dialogue with Precious Plastic Margaret River to support their efforts. The Shire commends the innovation of Precious Plastics Margaret River and the role it has in reducing plastic waste.”

To help the Precious Plastic group with a pledge, visit bit.ly/2HTcDwL or email preciousplasticmr@ gmail.com.

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