In just four days, Langa locals brought 5,2 tonnes of glass,1,9 tonnes of paper,1 tonne of plastic and 295 kilograms of cans to the PACKA-CHING mobile buy-back service in their area and, in exchange, received R 5,403.32.
Spearheaded by Polyco and funded by its members, the PACKA-CHING project is being piloted in Langa and was launched on Monday the 21st of August 2017. Its goal is to divert at least 750 tonnes of packaging waste from landfill by increasing recycling within selected informal settlements and lower-income areas around Cape Town and Johannesburg. At the same time, the initiative’s intention is to uplift the lives of local residents by enabling them to benefit financially.
Mandy Naudé, Chief Executive Officer at Polyco says, “There is a vast amount of visible waste lying around, especially in informal settlements. The large majority of the public is uneducated on the topic of recycling and totally unaware of the opportunities it presents. Much of the waste that we see lying around is packaging material from household products, most of which is recyclable. PACKA-CHING presents an income earning opportunity, whereby everyday South Africans are encouraged to take part in recycling in order to improve their own lives, the community as a whole and the environment in which they live.”
Brooke Kühne, PACKA-CHING Project Co-ordinator, explains: “The PACKA-CHING recycling trailer visits designated areas on specific days of the week to collect recyclable plastic, paper, metal cans and glass that has been collected and separated by community members. In exchange for these materials, they are rewarded with an amount of money determined by the current market price of each material type. The money is loaded onto their Kilorands CardTM (a special debit card) and can be spent at any shop that accepts MasterCard. By incentivising and encouraging community members to recycle and reduce waste pollution, we aim to positively change behaviour and shift the way in which people perceive recyclable packaging, in order to show them that waste has value.”
“Furthermore, we run a community fund in each area where the PACKA-CHING project operates. For every kilogram of recyclable material that is brought in, a fixed amount per kilogram of material type will be allocated to the fund. The accumulated value will be donated to a worthy project within each community, identified by the residents themselves. The intention of the fund is to provide additional incentive for households to recycle and to create a sense of unity and pride within the communities as they work towards a common goal. We would like the entire community to feel the benefits of this initiative and the positive change in behaviour,” adds Kühne.
The launch in Langa comes after weeks of distributing specially designed educational material in the area and visiting primary and high schools to educate learners about the value of and opportunities offered by recycling, as well as to encourage them to take the message home. During these presentations, the children were introduced to the project mascot, PACKA-MAN, who taught them which materials can be recycled and how to separate them correctly. They were also given specially designed age-specific educational booklets and board games to get them excited about recycling. Kühne shares: “By teaching children about recycling at a young age, they are more likely to grow up with this practice as second nature and will also be key influencers in their parents’ decisions to change their behaviour.”
Naudé shares: “We are thrilled that over 8.5 tonnes of waste – that would otherwise have littered Langa or ended up in landfills – was collected in under a week and we can’t wait to see what will be achieved by the end of the year-long pilot project. We are perhaps even more excited about the feedback from the community and seeing first-hand how the project is changing their perceptions of recycling and positively impacting their lives. It is so encouraging to see individuals passing by the PACKA-CHING trailer with huge smiles and items bought using their Kilorands Card™. This project has been made possible by the generosity of our Polyco member organisations – a group of responsible polyolefin packaging producers – and we are incredibly grateful to them for their support.”
Plans are in place to roll the PACKA-CHING project out in Kya Sands and the surrounding communities in Johannesburg early next year.
“When a community is able to realise the potential that recycling holds and just how easy it can be, they will be excited to participate, spread the message and encourage others to get involved too. The more this process continues, the more the project can grow. This, in turn, will result in more recyclable packaging being diverted from landfill and more communities benefitting from this positive change,” concludes Naudé.
For more information about the PACKA-CHING project or to find out how you can be involved, visit our newly launched website at http://www.packaching.co.za. You can also track the progress of the material collections and the community fund through this platform, as well download our educational booklets and board games. For more about Polyco and what we do, go to https://www.polyco.co.za.
FOURWAYS – South Africa’s recycling and economic development initiative, Redisa gives shocking insights on the fact of recycling.
Recycling and Economic Development Initiative South Africa (Redisa) is passionate about cleaning the environment and believes it is up to all South Africans to take responsibility and ensure a clean environment for future generations.
In line with International Recycling Day’s aim to increase awareness by educating communities about the environmental and economic benefits of recycling, Redisa is driving the message of waste into worth and of how environmental conservation can ensure the effective long-term management of waste.
“As an initiative focused on encouraging people to find the value that can be derived from waste, Redisa is committed to educating consumers about the importance of recycling and re-using products. We have seen great success in the tyre industry, by implementing a circular economy approach, which ensures that nothing goes to waste and reduces the reliance on natural resources,” said Stacey Davidson, director at Redisa.
“This can be achieved by looking at consumer products beyond the end of their accepted lifecycle. Re-introducing them into the economy will go a long way towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for new product development,” said Davidson.
Many of the earth’s natural resources are close to critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, due to high population growth and economic development. If current consumption and production patterns remain the same, with the population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, we will need three planets to sustain our current way of life.
Currently, South Africa produces 108 million tons of waste per year. A total of 90 per cent of that waste ends up in landfills and only 10 per cent of waste is currently recycled.
South Africa’s landfills are rapidly running out of space and it is clear that the only solution lies in recycling and repurposing our waste. International Recycling Day aims to increase awareness by educating all South Africans about the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and help them to understand the difference between recyclables and non-recyclables.
Examples of what you can recycle:
- Cereal boxes
- Tissue boxes
- Office paper
- Small appliances – such as toasters, irons, pots, pans
Examples of what you cannot recycle:
- Nappies and sanitary towels
- Cigarette buds
What we may see as waste, others see as a resource.
How it works
Incentives such as a tax on disposable coffee cups or free reuseable replacements could help cut the number thrown away in the UK every year by between 50m and 300m, according to new research.
An estimated 2.5bn throwaway coffee cups are used in the UK every year by consumers buying coffee from chains and cafes, creating approximately 25,000 tonnes of waste.
Significantly, the research found that while a 25p charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable coffee cups, a discount on reusable coffee cups had no impact at all on their usage.
The study was carried out between September and December 2016 by Cardiff University on behalf of the coffee roaster Bewley’s, testing a range of measures that could encourage the use of reusable coffee cups. A dozen university and business cafes tracked the use of reusable cups by their customers over a four-month period after the measures were introduced.
The research found that financial incentives, reusable alternatives, and clear messaging reminding customers of the environmental impact of single-use coffee cups all had a direct impact on consumer behaviour.
Overall, a 25p charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable coffee cups by 3.4%, environmental messaging in cafes increased the use of reusable coffee cups by 2.3%, the availability of reusable cups led to an increase of 2.5% and the distribution of free reusable cups led to a further increase of 4.3 %.
In one cafe, customers’ usage of reusable cups soared from 5.1% to 17.4% when all the measures were in place. “While the increases for individual measures were modest, the greatest behavioural change was when the measures were combined,” said Prof Wouter Poortinga of Cardiff University, who led the research.
“Our results show that, on average, the use of reusable coffee cups could be increased by up to 12.5 percentage points with a combination of measures. With this in mind, the UK’s usage of an estimated 2.5bn disposable coffee cups each year could be cut by up to 300m coffee cups.”
Every day in the UK, up to 7m coffee cups are thrown away, with less than 1% of these cups (only one in 400 coffee cups) thought to be recycled. The main challenge to date has been the plastic film lining the paper cups, which means they are rarely recyclable.
Ministers have already rejected campaigners’ calls for a charge on the 2.5bn disposable coffee cups thrown away each year because they believe coffee shop chains are already taking enough action to cut down waste. The environment minister Thérèse Coffey told the Liberal Democrats, who have urged the government to impose a 5p charge similar to that levied on plastic bags, that industry and chains were already doing enough voluntarily.
Meanwhile, a new scheme to boost disposable coffee cup recycling will be launched next week in the City of London in an attempt to prevent 5m cups a year from the Square Mile ending up in landfill. The City of London Corporation, in conjunction with Network Rail, coffee chains, and some employers, are introducing dedicated coffee-cup recycling facilities in offices, shops and streets.
New statistics from recycling company Petco have revealed that more polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are being recycled than are sent to landfill, with about 4.7-million bottles recycled every day.
This resulted in 112 000 t of carbon emissions, as well as 461 000 m3 of landfill space, being saved.
Noting that South Africa was winning the battle of recycling plastic bottles, the company said 52% of post-consumer PET plastic bottles, or around 74 000 t, were collected for recycling last year.
This is expected to increase to 54% for 2016.
Meanwhile, Petco said that about 50 000 sustainable employment opportunities have been created, with R275-million having been invested in support of recycling projects.
About R1.2-billion was paid to PET collectors by recyclers with Petco playing a catalytic role by investing R1-billion in infrastructure development.
The organisation further facilitated R3.5-billion of value into the downstream economy.
CEO Cheri Scholtz said the company was delighted that, for the eleventh consecutive year, the post-consumer PET bottle-recycling rate had increased.
“Recycling PET bottles over the last 12 years has saved a total of 651 000 t of carbon [emissions] and avoided using 2.7-million cubic meters of landfill space,” she added.
This edition goes to Ghana, where an intercontinental initiative is working with thousands of school children to collect, clean and sell the trash that litters the country, thereby creating jobs and income.
Recycle Up! Ghana (RUG) is an African-German initiative that works with Ghanaian school children to tackle the massive waste problems in the country. Collected and cleaned trash is sold to recycling companies for reuse.
From one school to another, we head up into the mountains of Morocco, where female boarders are learning how to grow and use local plants that were once a part of their ancestors’ lives. With the help of their grandmothers, they are even putting together a book of medicinal and culinary recipes.
Staying in Africa, we go to Zambia, where a woman who grew up in the mist of Victoria Falls is doing everything she can to teach young people about the problems of local deforestation, and we visit Nigeria’s Ogoniland to find out about plans to clean up the oil spills.
In Germany, we look at the difficulties facing a power company that failed to get on board with the green energy transition, and along the coast of Turkey, we meet a formidable English woman, who at age 93, has earned herself the title of “Captain June” for her unerring devotion to saving the local turtle population.
Earn valuable CPD credits
Plastic Pollution will be in the spotlight on July 25th and 26th in Port Elizabeth. During these two days the Sustainable Seas Trust, Plastics SA and other partners will launch the African Marine Waste Network.
The need for the network was recognized some years back by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and a number of government departments, universities, research institutions, NGOs and concerned citizens, but a decision to launch the network was only made in 2015 with a view to building on the back of the South African Hope Spot Network, launched by Sustainable Seas Trust and Dr Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue.
Dr Earle is also one of the Patrons of SST. Appropriately the Network will be launched in Port Elizabeth as Algoa Bay is one of South Africa’s six Hope Spots. Although the launch will take place in South Africa, the African Marine Waste Network will be the first to address marine waste at a Pan-African level. The SST has emphasised the enormous contribution of Plastics South Africa to this initiative.
Two days have been dedicated to the launch in order to set aside time for national and international experts to participate in a planning workshop, for public lectures and the first meeting of the Network’s Advisory Panel as well as to provide an opportunity for celebrations to mark the official launch.
Pollution of all kinds, a major global problem; it causes 40% of premature human deaths globally, costs US$ 13.8 trillion annually and is influencing climate on the planet. An exceedingly important part of the pollution problem, marine waste, is the focus of the Network. Debris and solid waste enter the sea in ever increasing amounts every moment of every day. About 270kgs of plastic enters our seas every second; that is a little over 15 tons every minute; 900 tons every hour.
Plastic washed into rivers and estuaries and then carried to the sea, beaches and rocky-shores is the major contributor to this form of pollution. The remainder comes from ships and boats. By 2045 the flow of plastic into the sea will be 600kgs per second; 36 tons per minute or 2160 tons and hour, if present trends continue. This situation poses a serious threat to humans, to animals and plants and to ecosystems.
Estimates suggest that there are 150million tons of plastic in the sea at the moment. If present trends continue, there will be more than 700 million tons in the ocean by 2050, outstripping the total weight of fish in the sea.
The exact amount of debris entering the sea from South Africa or any other African country is not known. What is known, however, is that the rapid development of Africa, coupled with poverty, has seen waste accumulation outpace management. International organizations now fear that Africa may soon become as badly polluted as South East Asia, which has the foulest record on the planet. The Network urgently needs to find out how serious the African problems are, where they are and how to address them.
In his message to the 5th International Marine Debris Conference, Achim Steiner, in his capacity as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, emphasised that the threat of marine pollution can only be tackled effectively by means of a trans-national initiative actively supported by the private sector.
The African Marine Waste Network is an African cross-boundary initiative supported by the private sector which aims to make a contribution to solving a global crisis.
The organisers of the launch expressed the hope that all South Africans will join this initiative to help Africa to play its role in ensuring that the children of our planet have a better tomorrow.
Four bright young minds in Thane, Mumbai, have come up with an idea to use dry waste to generate electricity. Instead of dumping dry waste into a garbage bin and filling up landfills, this novel idea makes use of domestic waste that every household in India produces, and turns it into a sustainable form of energy. And it can prevent mishaps like the Deonar dumping ground fires, too.
Aged between 10 and 13, the girls have devised an instrument with two parts that converts dry waste into electricity.
The bottom part of the instrument burns dry waste. The heat generated from this is used to move the turbines attached in the top-most part of the furnace. These turbines help in creating electricity.
The girls, Pooja Ramdas, Nikita Dhamapurkar, Jovila D’souza and Sharanya Bhamble spent two weeks figuring out the minute details, researching and experimenting. They were inspired by the working of a pressure cooker.
Sharanya Bhamble explains the eco-friendly process: it starts off with segregating dry and wet waste. While the dry waste is burnt in the furnace, the wet waste is used for composting.
“The toxic fumes produced in the process (of burning dry waste) are filtered, making it pure and released in the environment,” she said. “Meanwhile, we put seawater in the top part of the two-part-furnace, which turns into steam when the waste is burning. This steam is then released on a set of turbines which rotate and produce electricity in the process.”
To test the device, the girls used a cycle pump to create air pressure. This generated enough electricity to light up the bulbs that were fixed to the device.
In Mumbai, about two-thirds of its solid waste that is dumped into landfills is illegal and beyond the capacity of the landfill.
Repeated dumping, with no waste segregation, caused the massive Deonar fires in the months of January and February this year. Smoke from these fires covered the areas surrounding the dumping ground, forcing schools and colleges to shut, and people to fall ill.
Most of the waste that ends up in landfills are actually biodegradable or fit to be converted into energy. With waste segregation and municipal body support, sustainable waste management isn’t difficult.
While on a macro-level, the municipal solid waste-to-energy process requires installation of biogas plants, on an individual level, devices such as the one invented by the students can help reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Climate change will have far-reaching impacts on food security – not only at the farm level but on the entire food chain from farm to fork, according to an international report released at COP21 climate talks in Paris.A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that climate change could impact the food supply in Colorado-and across the world.
As first time at a COP conference, agriculture had its own dedicated focus-day
This week, these concerns have been prominent on the agenda at the COP21 climate talks in Paris. For the first time at a COP conference, agriculture had its own dedicated focus-day, held on Tuesday by the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), a partnership established between France and Peru to showcase and strengthen on-the-ground climate action in 2015 and beyond. “For years, agriculture, food systems, including oceans, including forests, have been knocking hard at the door—and now there’s movement starting,” said David Nabarro, former special representative of food security and nutrition for the United Nations, at the LPAA agriculture press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
The challenge we now face is whether we can maintain and even accelerate this progress despite the threats from climate change. Mess around with this interactive map, created by the U.K.’s national weather service and the World Food Programme, to get an idea of what levels of carbon reductions and adaptation activities will bring in regard to food insecurity. A farmer tills his field. “Accurately identifying needs and vulnerabilities, and effectively targeting adaptive practices and technologies across the full scope of the food system, are central to improving global food security in a changing climate”.
“Changes in society and changes in climate will both be critically important to food security in the coming decades”, O’Neill said. “The risks are greatest for the global poor and in tropical regions”. “We must do all of this in the face of climate change that is threatening the productivity and profitability of our farms, ranches and forests”. However, this is likely to hit consumers and producers with changes to the prices of imported produce, as well changes to infrastructure, export demand, processing and storage.
That door should have been yanked open a long time ago, considering that our food systems are due to bear so much of the brunt of climate change. But there are strong signs of progress. The world needs creative solutions if we are to reduce agricultural impact and feed everyone on the planet (an estimated nine billion by 2050)—and some of the best have recently been aired at the talks.
Here are three that caught my eye: each places our global food system squarely on the climate table.
Future of Food Production in insecurity
The first step in prioritising food systems is to confront what will happen if we don’t. On Tuesday at COP21 the World Food Program and the U.K.’s Met Office Hadley Centre launched a new, interactive mapping tool that predicts, in unprecedented detail, how future climate scenarios could influence food security, especially in the world’s developing nations. Based on five years of meteorological and agricultural research, the Food Insecurity and Climate Change Vulnerability Map shows how food security could change at the individual country level, either worsening or improving depending on three variables that users can tweak on the map: time scale (you can choose between the present day, 2050s, 2080s), emissions (low, medium, high), and adaptation (high, low, none).
As a starting point, the map could help countries forecast their food security risk and inform their planning, says Richard Choularton, chief of climate and disaster risk reduction at the World Food Programme. “The results of the analysis can provide some insight into vulnerability at the national level, when the specific factors behind the index are unpacked.” For example, in one country road access might emerge as the main limit on food security, in another it might be the variability of rainfall.
The map also shows what can be achieved if reduced emissions are paired with increased adaptive measures—like climate-smart agriculture—to make food systems more secure. “What’s most important, especially in the context of Paris, is that mitigation or adaption alone is not enough,” Choularton says. “We need a very serious combination of both.”
Keeping soil carbon on lockdown
The planet’s soils naturally hold vast quantities of carbon—two to three times more carbon than the air. Releasing it through unsuitable, soil-degrading agricultural techniques will contribute to climate change and also reduce soil health—but, if we keep more carbon locked in the soil, it has the power to both mitigate climate change and increase agricultural productivity.
On Tuesday as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, hundreds of partners joined to launch ‘4/1000’, an initiative designed to increase the storage of carbon in the earth: “If we were to increase the amount of carbon in the soil by just 0.4% then we would compensate entirely for the increase of carbon in the atmosphere—just to show how huge the potential is,” says Frank Rijsberman, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Centers, one of the partners contributing to the initiative. As part of 4/1000 the CGIAR itself is proposing a $225 million project that aims to increase carbon storage by promoting better farming techniques in developing world agriculture. Methods like agroforestry and reduced soil tillage could keep carbon enclosed in the soil, leading to a 20 percent boost in yields, and in theory offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent. The benefits will be three-pronged, says Rijsberman: “We will mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; adapt agriculture to climate change and thus improve food security; and improve ecosystem functioning.”
Global Collabration on Waste Treatment
An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food is lost and wasted annually between farm and fork, producing 3.3 Gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. On Tuesday at COP21, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Food Policy Research Institute announced that to counter it, they’re launching a new platform that will encourage G20 member countries, the private sector, and NGOs to pool their resources toward the goal of fighting food waste. Today, that new forum—called the G20 Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste—goes live.
The platform is designed to “provide up to date information on policy, strategy and actions for food loss and waste reduction, and share best practices across countries—something which is badly needed,” says Anthony Bennett from the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-industries Division at the FAO. G20 member countries—which include China, Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States—along with other countries, will be encouraged to use the forum to share what works for them in cutting food waste, and what doesn’t. As the platform grows, it will also feature a database of low-cost, accessible technologies available to tackle this problem. The hope is that the platform will become a place where countries can unite and ultimately scale up their efforts to reduce the global impact of food waste.
These are just three of the many projects worth knowing about: as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, several other food-focused initiatives were launched this week, touching on everything from low-carbon beef to the sustainable management of marine food systems.
WasteCon 2016 is the flagship conference of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) and one of the most important events on the environmental calendar this year.
Waste-wise organisations cannot afford to miss a spot at this year’s event, taking place from 17 to 21 October 2016 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. The theme of the conference is ‘The Changing Face of Waste Management’.
“We encourage people and organisations operating in the environmental and waste management industry to register for this exclusive conference where best practices will be shared from all over the globe,” says Prof Suzan Oelofse, president of the IWMSA. Early bird registrations are open and interested parties can benefit from the reduced fee before 31 May 2016.
The keynote speaker for the event is Torben Kristiansen, vice-president of waste and contaminated sites at COWI A/S based in Denmark. With his extensive experience in waste management, Kristiansen will delve into the current status of the waste management industry, legislation and practice in Europe.