Sparks are flying: Shannon Cole, Vinnies Area Manager in North East Victoria, is delighted that Vinnies stores in Victoria have launched a new program to give electrical appliances a second chance in a new home. Photo by Steve Huntley

St Vincent de Paul Society stores in Victoria have launched a new volunteer-run program to give quality electrical appliances a second chance by accepting them into its stores for testing, labeling and resale.

In the past, all electrical appliances that were personally donated to Vinnies were turned away and those in the donation bins were thrown out and taken to the landfill.

Vinnies received a $250,000 grant from the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund in September 2021 to support the project, which covered the cost of training volunteers for the Green Sparks electrical testing and labeling program across Australia.

Vinnies North East Victoria regional manager Shannon Cole said Echuca Vinnies had already donated a significant amount of electrical items since Saturday June 11 – when they started accepting electronic donations .

“DVD players, lamps, TV screens, kettles, among a wide variety of other electrical appliances, have all been donated and are ready to be relocated,” Mr Cole said.

Since the start of the ETTP initiative, Vinnies stores in Victoria have increased their electricity business by more than 18%.

Echuca Vinnies will only accept donation-eligible electrical items.

Mr Cole said there were a number of significant benefits to be gained from the new programme, which had been in the works for around six months.

“It’s more convenient for donors looking to get rid of electronics and for customers looking to buy cheaper electronics, it gives functional items a second life and it prevents quality items from being thrown away. to the landfill,” Mr. Cole said.

“In addition to all of these benefits, this program also helps improve the skills of our volunteers by allowing them to take an accredited ETTP course online, if they wish.”

There are currently four ETTP Green Sparks volunteers at Echuca Vinnies who will test each electronic item twice – once for function and once for compliance.

Mr Cole said all ETTP volunteers must complete a four-hour online course and subsequent accreditation assessment.

“I think one of the most surprising things is how many people raised their hands and opted in to the course,” he said.

“It’s really nice to see that so many of our volunteers are eager to develop their current skills.

Plugged in: Shannon Cole, Vinnies Area Manager in North East Victoria, demonstrates that all items have been rigorously tested to confirm functionality and then tagged upon confirmation. Photo by Steve Huntley

Tips for a successful e-waste donation include donating new or fully functional electrical appliances to qualify for donation and visiting your local Vinnies during business hours for a dedicated volunteer to test and clean. labeling can check if your donation is suitable for testing, labelling. and resale.

Anyone wishing to donate their e-waste but are unsure if their item will qualify can phone Vinnies Echuca on 5482 3568.

Vinnies is always looking for volunteers, please contact them if you would like to get involved.