WORKERS at IMPACT Community Service’s Material Recycling Centre and Bundaberg Regional Council officers have come to the aid of a distraught retired couple who thought they’d lost $500.

The money was placed in an old phone book for “safekeeping”.  However, the book was later put into the recycling bin with the couple realising what had happened after their bin had been collected.

They called Bundaberg Regional Council and were soon speaking with council’s supervisor of Waste Collection Services, Tony Noffke.

“I told the lady ‘I will try to retrieve your money but I quickly need your phone number as the load has been emptied and I need to go over to see Tim at the recycle plant and find out if the load has been processed or not’,” Tony said.

“The lady gave me her number and I raced over to the recycle plant and identified it was still on conveyor belt 2 and told Tim the belt number.”

Tim, who is IMPACT’s Australian Disability Enterprises Manager, quickly mobilised his team.

“Luckily it was a small load and even luckier, it hadn’t been processed,” Tim said.

“There was quite a collection of phone books, which we then shook and, lo and behold, the money fell out.

“It was lucky we could get it before it went into the trammel.

“If it had got into the machine, which is like a giant clothes dryer, it would have been mixed with other paper and compacted and we would never have been able to retrieve it.”

Tim texted Tony a photo of the money once it was found.

“I was elated,” Tony said.

“I rang the lady’s number but her husband answered so I told him the money had been found and was ready for pick up.

“At first he was silent then said ‘thank you we thought it was gone’. His wife was in the background yelling ‘thank you, thank you’.”

The appreciative couple picked up the money from the recycling centre that afternoon.

“Our boys were very proud that we could help out,” Tim said.