Top way to lend a Hand



AAFCANS has joined the campaign to turn waste into opportunity by supporting the Helping Hands project. The charity, Envision, delivers the project, with the help of Rotary, in which it repurposes plastic bottle tops (grades 2 and 4) into mobility aids for children. AAFCANS has created a collection point for the bottle tops at its ADFA canteen and the campus community has added collection bins to tearooms. Lids from soft drink, water, juice and milk containers, which are often too small for recycling equipment to process, are collected and directed to Envision rather than landfill. Using a 3D printer and a handmade machine that turns bottle caps into filament, the Envision team can custommake a hand that allows the wearer to undertake basic tasks such as picking up a cup or holding a fork. Envision director Sean Teer said the mobility aids went to disadvantaged communities throughout Cambodia and other third world countries.

He also said it took about 500g of recycled bottle caps and 40 hours of work to create one hand. AAFCANS managing director Stewart McGrow said the ADFA community had embraced the environmental and humanitarian activity. “We are delighted at the opportunity to help children from around the world gain back some of their lost mobility,” he said. “This is the stuff that changes lives. It’s a real win-win, offering waste management and recycling opportunities as a bonus to helping the kids.”

Mr McGrow said AAFCANS was also developing a strategic plan to help reduce its waste and improve overall environmental practices. The plan would include measures such as transitioning from takeaway packaging to environmentally aware products, using compostable and biodegradable products, limiting singleuse plastics in production kitchens and turning coffee grounds into compost. Trials of these measures would begin on select bases in January 2020 and be expanded to other ADF bases and canteen operations during the 2020-21 financial year. For more information contact AAFCANS National Support Office on 07 3332 6356.

Defence Media Image:
OCdt Nick Toohey deposits a plastic bottle top in the Helping Hands bin, with the assistance of cafe manager, Kanye, at the AAFCANS cafe at ADFA. Inset, James models one of the mobility aids made out of the lids. Main photo: Cpl Sebastian Beurich

About Us

AAFCANS is a not-for-profit organisation. It is part of Defence, owned by the Army and Air Force and has been supporting our soldiers and airmen/airwomen since its inception in 1915.

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