Jo Algie of Ambulance Victoria is the Community Champion award winner in the Premier's Sustainability Awards 2021 – Waste reduction and the circular economy category.
The Uniform Recycling Program recycles Ambulance Victoria (AV) uniforms, donating thousands of clothing items, as well as work boots and dress shoes, to people in need.
Eighteen months ago, Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic and Team Manager, Jo Algie, noticed many old uniforms were left lying around. This motivated her to develop a program, not just about taking less from the planet, but sharing more with the people who inhabit it.
Partnering with AV’s Supply team, they secured a series of drop-off points and storerooms to accommodate the returned uniforms for processing. The team found several opportunities to upcycle and donate old uniforms, partnering with local Gippsland Lions and Rotary groups to hold working bees to help de-badge uniforms.
In 2020, the Uniform Recycling Program donated, recycled, or rehomed more than 12,300 items. Some key recipients include ambulance services in Vanuatu, PNG, Fiji, and Thailand, Indigenous communities near Alice Springs, and Scout Association First Aid trainers.
The program has also introduced uniform recycling engagement channels, to update paramedics on the program and encourage participation in the initiative.