According to a Plastics SA Survey, mechanical recycling of plastics has increased by 5, 9% domestically from 2015 to 2016. Polyco Chief Executive Officer, Mandy Naudé, is pleased by this result but feels that more can be done over the festive season.
“It’s great that more South Africans are playing an active part in recycling. The more individuals who recycle and share their tips, the brighter the future.”
Here are some easy recycling tips for the year ahead:
Let’s get one thing clear:
The first step to recycling responsibly is understanding what is recyclable and where your recyclable items should go. Recycling is as simple as separating your waste into one of two bags: black refuse or clear refuse bags. Clear refuse bags are used in order to differentiate the recyclable waste from the organic waste or non-recyclable items.
‘Tis the season for consumption:
From a tub of ice cream to a bottle of soda or a cheeky snack; whatever your pleasure, remember that most of these packaging items can be recycled. A simple trick to assist recyclers is to wash used food packaging items out in your used dishwashing water (to get rid of excess food or liquid), ensuring a seamless journey from collection to waste conversion. Remember to be water-wise if you’re in the Western Cape!
Cracking the code to recycling:
Products made from plastic are safe, versatile and affordable, but did you know that there are seven different types of plastic? Better yet, did you know that most of these types are recyclable? Remember to look out for these recycling codes on the packaging.
- Code 1: PET (made of polyethylene terephthalate) is used in a range of food and household packaging items, but it’s your soda and water bottles that need to go into the clear refuse bag for recycling.
- Code 2: HDPE (made of high-density polyethylene) is used for strong and rigid packaging such as milk bottles, juice bottles and household cleaning bottles.
- Code 3: PVC (made of polyvinyl chloride) is predominantly used in the building and construction industries, as well as the healthcare environment (such as syringes). It is used in very small quantities in packaging items and therefore currently not recycled in SA, so do not throw it into your clear refuse bag.
- Code 4: LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is the most widely recycled plastic material in South Africa. LDPE can be found in plastic food wraps, plastic shopping bags, frozen food bags and bread bags.
- Code 5: PP (polypropylene) can be found in your favourite yogurt container, bottle caps and medicine bottles.
- Code 6: PS (polystyrene) is used in take-away containers, as well as in your fruit, meat and vegetable containers.
- Code 7: Other refers to any other – or multi-layered – material used. Some examples include soup packaging and chip bags. These are currently not recycled in SA and therefore should not be included in your clear refuse bag.
Recycle me not:
Whilst recycling can be simplified, it is also important to be aware of what cannot be recycled. Be sure to toss soggy and wet items (from food or liquid) into your black refuse bag so that they do not contaminate the recyclable material, which would then make it much more difficult to recycle. Watch this video to learn more about what cannot be recycled: https://youtu.be/hT7oxOgFJJk
Where to next?
Once your recyclables bag is full, simply leave it on the pavement outside of your home on the days that your municipality collects the waste. If your municipality does not collect recyclables, visit www.mywaste.co.za and find the nearest drop off point or recycling depot.
For more top tips on responsible recycling over the festive season, visit www.polyco.co.za
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is embarking on an operation to test water in Senekal on 12 to 15 April 2016. Water tankers that supply the community with water, sponsored by the department, will be tested for any hazardous substance or bacteria.
DWS has enlisted the assistance of the University of the Free State (UFS) to test and clean the tanks used to supply water to communities of Senekal. Taking into consideration the health of the community and prioritizing it, DWS will test water from the source where the water tankers are filled and the tankers themselves as well as the nozzles to ensure quality of water is safe for consumption.
Where necessary chemicals such as Sodium Hypochlorite are added to the water in the tank and circulated for a period of thirty minutes before the water can be distributed to consumers. These processes are followed routinely to avoid any outbreaks off illness from consumption of unclean water.
Emakhazeni – The Emakhazeni local municipality in Mpumalanga is investigating an official who is accused of deliberately supplying dirty water to the community of Siyathuthuka township in Emakhazeni.
The municipality’s executive mayor Hamza Ngwenya confirmed with a News24 Correspondent that an investigation was under way and that the official has since been moved from his position.
“There’s an employee who is suspected of channelling water directly from the dams bypassing the water purification process and feeding it directly to the community for consumption. This is a matter the municipality is still establishing the facts [about] with a view to deal with it administratively,” said Ngwenya on Wednesday.
On Monday, the entire township was brought to a standstill, when the community blocked all access roads to protest against dirty water and allegations of corruption by an official in the municipality.
Residents claim that the upheaval was sparked off by the flow of dirty black water from taps for more than a week.
“For more than seven days we were forced to buy water for drinking and bathing because the tap water was so dirty and black,” said a protesting resident who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another resident said a local hospital advised him to boil water before consumption after his daughter fell sick, which could be an indication that the illness may have been caused by the water quality.
‘Difficult’ for the municipality
Provincial health department spokesperson Chris Nobela confirmed an increase in the number of patients with sicknesses that could be linked to the consumption of untreated water.
He said this, however, happened in December 2015.
“Between the 17th and 25th December (2015), the HA Grove Hospital in Emakhazeni treated 19 patients for stomach cramps and diarrhoea, and the patients were being advised to boil the water before use, and since then the situation has normalised,” said Nobela.
Ngwenya acknowledged that it was difficult for the municipality to deal with the matter.
He said as a precautionary measure, the municipality has shifted the official responsible for the water treatment plant to another department while investigations were still continuing.
“The issue of water quality cannot be resolved overnight, especially if it is true that there’s a person who is sabotaging [efforts to supply clean water]. I’m told by the manager that the suspect has been removed from the plant and placed in another department,” said Ngwenya.
He also disclosed that the water infrastructure in Emakhazeni local municipality was no longer capable to match the township’s rapid growth.
“Our infrastructure is no longer able to keep up with the population growth, while there has never been the upgrading of the infrastructure,” said Ngwenya.
He said, however, the department of water affairs would be installing the requisite infrastructure.
“There’s a project that we are going to be implementing through the [national] department of water and sanitation to improve the water infrastructure. According to the department of (water and sanitation), the contractor would be on site by April,” said Ngwenya.
In terms of the department of water affairs’ Blue Drop water audits conducted in 2014, Emakhazeni is described as Mpumalanga province’s 8th worst performing water service authority of the province’s 18 municipalities.
Emakhazeni’s overall Blue Drop score is a mere 50%.
“The Municipality has not maintained a comprehensive water safety planning process since the previous water safety plan was developed in 2012. Corrective actions identified in the 2012 risk assessment are still outstanding and limited implementation of any recommendations provided in the 2013 process audits,” reads the report.
The only time Emakhazeni’s water quality received a Blue Drop certification was in 2011 when it achieved a score of 89%.
One of the challenges facing South Africa, and the world, is to drastically reduce energy consumption, the cost of producing it and to use alternative sources of energy. That’s where Shalton Mothwa wants to make a difference. He’s a qualified nuclear physicist, which in itself is quite an achievement, but for Shalton that’s just the beginning. He’s also an entrepreneur that’s committed to changing the way we use energy, and in how it can be harnessed from very untraditional sources.
A few days ago Shalton took part in the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, a workshop that aims to inspire young South African entrepreneurs to collaborate, be creative and share their ideas for a brighter South African future. There he presented his project: the AEON Power Bag.
Mothwa’s AEON Power Bag is a laptop bag that will be able to charge mobile devices by farming the energy from surrounding wifi and telecommunication signals. He says, “It’s about convenience and freedom. You’ll be able to do your thing on mobile devices without having to power your stuff.”
Because the bag draws its charge from wifi signals and cellular towers, Shalton is also hopeful that it will go long way to empowering young children and students in rural areas, allowing them the freedom to connect with learning websites without having to worry about powering their devices. Because there more and more zero-rated (data-cost free) resources being made available to learners across the country, finding enough juice to power their connections is one of the last remaining major barriers to accessing information.
It’s a ground-breaking idea that could revolutionise the way people charge their devices while out and about. But it’s not the onlysmart energy concept that Shalton is involved in, either. His company Epoch Microchips is also developing a new type of energy efficient light too – an LED hybrid lamp that’s powered by a combination of solar energy, radio frequency energy from telecommunications towers and electricity from the grid. The light consumes less than 65% of the energy of the light bulbs recently recommended by Eskom, and the lamp’s cover is made of 85% recycled material, which makes it eco-friendly. It’s powered remotely and wirelessly so remote rural areas and informal settlements will have access to lights regardless of load-shedding or infrastructure issues.
The 28-year-old scientific entrepreneur, who hails the North West Province, says he is one month away from finalising the prototype of the AEON Laptop Bag, but will still need R900 000 in funding before we’ll see this product on the shelves. Given the excitement the AEON Bag is generating around the world, one can only hope this investment support isn’t too far away. Perhaps Elon Musk will recognise a kindred spirit and give Shalton’s project a welcome kickstart?