Soft Landing, 7 March 2017, The Chronicle
Canberra has too much landfill, and too few jobs for the most disadvantaged. Today, a local social enterprise is looking to tackle both problems.
The secret is mattress recycling. These days, we throw out around 18,000 mattresses a year. Yet for decades, we simply buried them.
Then an organisation called ‘Soft Landing’ realised that there was a smarter approach. The steel springs are melted down and used again. The foam is turned into carpet underlay, and the felt becomes punching bags.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the firm targets jobseekers who might otherwise struggle in the labour market, including the long-term unemployed, newly released prisoners and others who have faced barriers to work.
Soft Landing is a reminder of the value of social entrepreneurs – people who look at a community problem, and think ‘I can solve that’. One of the great joys of being a federal member of parliament is getting the chance to meet so many talented Canberrans who are committed to giving something back to our community.
At a time when it’s easy to point to the things that are wrong with the world, it’s inspiring to see what people are doing right here in our city to build a stronger community.
Andrew Leigh is the Federal Member for Fenner. If you have an old mattress, you can drop it off at Hume, or arrange for Soft Landing to pick it up from your home. See www.softlanding.com.au for details.