The Good Life: Tom


“You can do It! I am a strong believer that if you put your mind and heart and soul into something you feel so passionate about, your dream will become a reality.” Tom Pirie, also known as 10 Cent Tom⁠⁠

I have an intellectual impairment and was diagnosed with severe scoliosis at 15. I’ve had surgery to correct my spine and have two titanium rods running the length of my back – but I don’t let anything stop me!

Growing up, my Mum always told me, “you are in charge of your own destiny Tom, you have choices”.

⁠⁠In 2020 in my final year of high school, I started collecting bottles and cans from around my neighbourhood. In the beginning, I loved being able to get to know my neighbours while earning a bit of pocket money.

In the past, I’ve struggled to fit in and make friends, so I thought a business would be a great way to build confidence and meet new people. Now, I run my own business called 10 Cent Tom, and I collect cans and bottles around the Gold Coast from homes, businesses and events.⁠⁠

One of the happiest moments in my life was being invited to do the recycling for the Red Hot Summer Tour. I met some of the famous musicians such as Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens, Troy Cassar-Daley and was invited up onto the stage to share my story.

In the next 12 – 18 months, I hope to open my first 10 Cent Tom Recycling Depot, employing people with disabilities. My bigger goal is to be the face of recycling across Australia.

You can follow Business Owner, Social Entrepreneur and Recycling Advocate – Tom Pirie’s good life on Facebook.

In our social media series #StoriesOfTheGoodLife we explore what a good life means for people with disability. People from all walks of life, living rich, full and meaningful lives on their own terms.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.    


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