The Next Step
May 25 2022
The lovable lad behind 10 Cent Tom is taking his recycling enterprise to the next level and he needs the community’s help to make it happen.
What started out as a hobby for Robina teenager Tom Pirie has grown into a thriving social enterprise backed by incredible local community support.
For the past two years 10 Cent Tom has been collecting cans and bottles to recycle, capturing the heart and support of the Gold Coast with his enthusiasm and determination
Tom has an intellectual impairment and was diagnosed with severe scoliosis at the age of 15 resulting in corrective surgery and steel rods placed permanently in his back.
However, that hasn’t stopped Tom from growing the 10 Cent Tom network by supplying sponsored blue bins to homes, businesses and events across the Gold Coast.
Working with the support of family and a carer, Tom travels across the coast in his small van to collect the containers from each bin, chatting to his “customers” as he goes.
A long-time 10 Cent Tom supporter, Kollosche this month funded the purchase of 80 new bins through the Kollosche Community Fund.
Established late last year, the Community Fund collects a percentage of every property sold by Kollosche agents to support special causes by way of donations and sponsorships.
“Tom is an inspiration to all of us,” says Kollosche Managing Director Michael Kollosche.
“Tom doesn’t see any barriers to his success. He’s out there making a difference and saving to build his own recycling depot so that he can employ others with a disability. We are honoured to support Tom in that endeavour.”
One storage site has been secured in Labrador and now 10 Cent Tom is calling upon the Gold Coast community to help locate suitable space on the southern end of town under a sponsored lease arrangement.
10 Cent Tom is searching for a secure covered site between Surfers Paradise and Burleigh Heads to house up to 200 bins.
“Finding a site to store these bins is the next step,” says 10 Cent Tom Charity Director Carolyn Pirie, who supports son Tom to reach his goals.
“Community support has enabled Tom to achieve so much and a storage site will take him another step closer to raising funds towards his own depot.
Every 10 cents Tom saves goes towards his ultimate plan to open a 10 Cent Tom Recycling Depot on the Gold Coast and employ people with disabilities to sort containers ready for recycling.
Each container Tom recycles as an individual is worth 10 cents, however once 10 Cent Tom secures a depot site the containers collected are valued at 60% more – this would greatly increase 10 Cent Tom’s capacity to employ people with disabilities.
“For a person with a disability, regular employment is so much more than income; it provides a sense of purpose, inclusion and social contact with the community,” says Carolyn.
“To offer employment opportunities in our own depot is a very powerful motivator.”
Thank you to Brendan Dawson from Faceit Graphics who donated the stickers for the bins.