The trial saw plastic carrier, barrier and fruit and vegetable bags at the store replaced with compostable bags made from starches, cellulose, vegetable oils and combinations.
The compostable bag is produced by an Italian company Novamont. Based on 20 years of research, Novamont had developed a fully biodegradable and compostable bioplastic resin known as Mater-Bi.
At the trial event, Pick n Pay chairperson Gareth Ackerman said much progress has been made since 2003, when the plastic bag levy was introduced in South Africa, to encourage customers to move away from single-use plastic carrier bags, but more needs to be done.
“Sustainable solutions require all parties involved – retailers, government, plastic manufacturers, consumers and recyclers – to work collaboratively and beyond plastic bags to all forms of waste,” he added.
Pick n Pay transformation director Suzanne Ackerman-Berman explained that the bags that were piloted are strong and can be reused. “The important difference [compared with plastic bags] is that they are home compostable. The bags are designed to collect organic waste, such as kitchen scraps, and will compost with the organic waste in a home compost environment.”
The bags will break down after three to six months – depending on the composting system – compared with the reported 500 to 1 000 years for plastic bags. Customers can also bring the bags back to the company’s stores, after which the company will take them to a Pick n Pay compostingfacility.
“Given that this option is still in its infancy in South Africa, there are several considerations to look at before they could be introduced to scale. Currently, for example, there are no integrated large-scale composting facilities available,” said Ackerman-Berman.
Meanwhile, the company last month committed to removing all plastic straws from checkouts and make only paper straws available at its cold-drink kiosks, while store branded earbuds with paper inners will also be introduced.
Additionally, Pick n Pay will introduce 100% recyclable plastic bags in stores from August.
With just one month to go until the first-ever Global Recycling Day, cities across the globe are joining together to encourage people to think of recycling in a new way. The initiative from the Bureau for International Recycling (BIR) will call on the world to think “resource” not “waste” when it comes to recycling.
On the 18th March 2018, official Global Recycling Day events will take place in London, Washington DC, Sao Paolo, Paris, Johannesburg, Delhi and Dubai (with other private events expected to take place in homes and communities across the globe).
These events will encourage individuals to pledge to make at least one change to their recycling habits, as well as asking them to sign BIR’s petition calling for the day to be recognised by the United Nations. This will help the message spread and highlight the importance of a global approach to recycling to world leaders.
Joining in on social media channels, using #GlobalRecyclingDay, is being encouraged, with people invited to share videos and images of recycling actions and celebrations. The aim is to showcase how central recycling is to our day to day life – whether it’s working with local recycling businesses or making personal recycling commitments.
BIR President, Ranjit Baxi, said: “The world’s first Global Recycling Day is a vitally important new date in our global calendar. To truly harness the power of recycling we must adopt a global approach to its collection, processing and use, and this Day recognises the global nature of the industry and the issue. It is time we put the planet first and all commit to spend 10 more minutes a day ensuring that materials are disposed of properly. It is a joint responsibility, not one of the few and I look forward to seeing individuals, communities, businesses and leaders joining us and celebrating the Day on 18th March.
“Global Recycling Day is also a wakeup call to all of us, wherever we live. We must unite with those involved in the industry – from workers on waste mountains to the world’s largest businesses – to help them to make the best use of what we dispose of, to make recycling easier, inherent even in the design of products, and to stop expecting countries to simply accept Recyclables which are difficult and costly to process.”
About Global Recycling Day
Global Recycling Day is an initiative of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR).
BIR is the global federation of the recycling industry, representing the interests of the global industry.
One of BIR’s key objectives is to promote recycling globally – showcasing its benefits to industry, policy makers and the wider community.
2018 marks the 70th anniversary of BIR (indeed 18th March is its 70th birthday), a landmark year in which to create a day which recognised the vital role recycling and the industry plays in protecting the planet.
The first ever Global Recycling Day will unite people across the world, highlighting the need to conserve our six primary resources (water, air, coal, oil, natural gas and minerals) and celebrating the power of the newly termed “Seventh Resource”- the goods we recycle every day. The new initiative is the brain child of Ranjit Baxi, who announced his vision for a day dedicated to recycling at the inauguration of his Presidency at BIR’s 2015 Dubai Convention.
Global Recycling Day will be a day of action, aimed at building a global approach towards recycling, calling on world leaders, international businesses, communities and individuals to make seven clear commitments in their approach to recycling. Consumers are also being asked to ask themselves some key questions about recycling, to think of it in a new way.
There are many reasons that attribute to the growing water crisis in South Africa.
Climate change and rising temperatures are making droughts more frequent and severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health.
This phenomenon is already being observed in the Western Cape, with Cape Town currently facing the very real threat of running out of water completely – Day Zero as it has become known.
The Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape are all in the grip of one of the worst droughts in history and have been declared national disaster areas.
Coupled with climate change putting pressure on water resources, is the migration of people from rural areas to the cities which means more water demands than ever before.
Water contamination threatens already dwindling water resources
Infrastructure is old and/or lacking, and a backlog in services has exacerbated the issue, with valuable water sources being contaminated with sewage and other pollution.
There are many sources of contamination that end up making their way into our dwindling water resources. One of these is used lubricant oil, which is a common by-product of mechanised processes in all industry sectors.
Used oil contain harmful compounds and carcinogens that can easily contaminate the environment, especially if thrown down drains, into landfills or onto the ground where it leaches into the water table.
One litre of used oil can contaminate a million litres of water.
Because of its harmful properties, used oil is classified as a hazardous waste and is strictly governed by environmental laws – with its storage and disposal needing to meet the requirements of the Waste Act.
The ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment) has been championing the responsible collection and removal of used oil for proper recycling since 1994. Bubele Nyiba, the CEO of ROSE explains that due to a lack of education many people who generate used oil may dispose of it improperly and illegally – pouring it down a drain, throwing it out onto the ground or even re-using it as a dust suppressant, burner fuel, or wood preservative.
“It is estimated that South Africa generates an average of 120 million litres of used lubricant oil in a year. This is a large amount of used oil that, if not collected and recycled responsibly, could make its way into our environment.”
The ROSE Foundation offer some practical tips on storing used oil:
- Drain oil into a clean container with a tight fitting lid. Empty oil containers and drums make effective makeshift storage vessels for used oil, however, DO NOT use a container that previously held chemicals, such as cleaners, solvents, fuels, paint or bleach.
- Always clearly label the container “Used Motor Oil.”
- Keep these containers in a place that can be accessed by a NORA-SA used oil collector and keep the surrounding area clear and clean. Ideally store them under cover and away from heat or sources of ignition.
- Keep oil change pans tightly sealed and covered to protect them from rain water. Oil that is contaminated with water is far more difficult to recycle.
- Ensure that you do not mix used oil with other fluids such as antifreeze, transmission fluid, petrol, diesel etc. Mixing them may make them non-recyclable as well as very hazardous and flammable.
- Build a bund wall around bulk used oil storage tanks so that in the event of a spill or leak, the used oil will be contained. In the event of an oil spill, contact your used oil collector.
Once your container is full you can drop it off at your nearest approved municipal garden refuse site – a list of which is available from the ROSE Foundation. Otherwise, most reputable service centres have used oil storage facilities and will take your oil, as they are paid according to volume by the collectors who take it away for processing.
Nyiba says that the safe disposal of hazardous waste has become a critical issue in South Africa in order to protect our environment. “The legislation in place in South Africa means that responsible waste management is no longer a nice thing to do but a necessary thing to do.”
For more information and to find out about an accredited collector or drop-off point, contact the ROSE Foundation on (021) 448 7492 or visit www.rosefoundation.org.za.
The Department of Environmental Affairs recently released shocking stats that more than 17 million tons of waste were disposed of across 120 landfills in 2017.
The Glass Recycling Company looked at seven key factors that impact recycling successes in South Africa.
Below are seven factors that will continue playing a successful role in recycling:
- Currently South Africa does not have punitive mandatory legislation in place which makes separation of recyclables at source, (where recyclable material which includes glass, paper, metal and certain plastics is separated from the waste stream) in homes, offices, restaurants and bars. Mandatory separation at source in SA will ensure greater recycling success in years to come.
- In many developing countries like ours, an informal ‘collector market’ has evolved. Recyclables are collected by individuals in order to generate a source of income. This includes individuals who both collectively or independently retrieve recyclables from home or business waste and sell these recyclables to buy back centres.
- These are community-based multi-recycling centres that buy recyclable waste such as paper, plastic, cans and glass from collectors and then sell it on to packaging manufacturers.
- Approximately 50 000 South Africans earn an informal source of income from collecting waste glass and selling this valuable packaging to entrepreneurial buy-back centres.
- South Africa has one of the most efficient returnable bottle systems in the world spearheaded by our beer, wine and spirit manufacturers.
- These returnable glass bottles are sent back to the beverage manufacturers to be sterilised, inspected and refilled, making each glass bottle achieve numerous trips.
- A carbon-friendly trend is closed-loop recycling. Glass, for example, fully meets the formal definition of a Closed Loop System, i.e. bottle-to bottle recycling – whereby material is recycled into the same product (i.e. a bottle becomes a new bottle or jar).
- Recycling glass has huge environmental benefits; it saves landfill space, saves raw materials, lessens demand for energy, and reduces CO2 emissions. As a result, the maximum environmental benefits are achieved in South Africa.
- Manufacturers are certainly assisting in diverting waste from landfill. Consol Glass and Nampak Glass have both invested significantly in the development of high-level cullet processing plants; these include the presence of advanced technology meaning that consumers do not need to sort glass into its three primary colours (brown, green or clear) as this is done at the processing plants by means of optical sorting.
- With the future of our country in the hands of our youth, it is vital to build enthusiasm amongst the youth regarding recycling and green behaviours. Many brands are trying to encourage this, however, there is certainly space to do more. Recycling brands often run campaigns and competitions to encourage recycling in schools.
- As South Africans are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and responsible, the demand for recycling points has increased. The Glass Recycling Company now has more than 4 000 glass banks located nationally which makes it easier for the public to recycle their glass.
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
Each piece of waste has the potential to pollute the environment in a different way, which is also the reason why there is no single suitable waste management approach to address all types of waste. The waste management hierarchy1 ranks waste management options in order of preference according to the type of waste, and therefore the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) recognises the importance of putting emphasis on the hierarchy in its upcoming its flagship conference, WasteCon 2018.
“It is important that the cycle of waste, from consumer to final disposal is governed by the internationally accepted waste hierarchy, which through its successful application can have several benefits, such as pollution reduction, resource conservation, and job creation,” says Jan Palm, President of the IWMSA. “The application of the waste hierarchy most often starts in households with consumers,” Palm adds.
Household waste can be separated into three parts: solid waste that can be recycled, organic waste (food and garden), and non-recyclables; each type requiring different recovery, treatment and/or disposal methods. Recyclables are repurposed for commercial use, while organic waste should not be landfilled, but rather used to make compost or biogas. Non-recyclable waste is either landfilled or sent to a Waste-to-Energy (WtE) facility to be thermally treated to produce electricity.
“One of the primary waste management challenges today is ensuring that the different types of waste are adequately sorted so that it can be subjected to the correct recovery, treatment or disposal processes,” says Palm. “By being mindful at home and separating waste into its correct category, you are helping to prevent waste from ending up where it does not belong; contaminating the natural environment,” adds Palm.
Have you ever wondered how good South Africa is at sorting and recycling their waste? Looking at a common consumer item, the plastic bag, which is quickly becoming known as South Africa’s unofficial national flower, is one of the biggest environmental burdens posed on coastal and ocean environments. The Ocean Conservancy’s 2017 Coastal Clean-up report2 indicates that during the 2016 effort to clean-up South Africa’s coastlines, plastic bags ranked as the fifth most picked up item. Four out of the top five items picked up all include plastics (plastic bags, food wrappers, beverage bottles and caps), most of which could have been recycled. “Another challenge is that once these items are picked up off beaches during clean-ups most recycling depots are reluctant to accept them as they are dirty and require further sorting and cleaning before they can actually be recycled,” says Palm.
“As we [IWMSA] continue to monitor the waste situation in our country, I would like to encourage all consumers to prevent waste where possible and to give upcycling a try,” encourages Palm.
The topics of ‘zero waste lifestyle’ and upcycling are trending more than ever on social media platforms nowadays. Living a zero waste lifestyle may seem like a challenge, however it can be a great opportunity to cut out short term use items such as plastic bags and bottles, and replace them with environmentally responsible reusable items. By doing this you have just taken a personal step up the waste management hierarchy.
If you feel like you need some guidance on your waste management have a look at the IWMSA’s training schedule, or register for WasteCon 2018 which will provide a wealth of insight into applying the waste management hierarchy. To submit an abstract to be considered to present a paper at WasteCon 2018, visit the Abstracts page on the WasteCon 2018 website.
For more information on the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit www.iwmsa.co.za. You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/iwmsa) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/IWMSA).
Released by Reputation Matters
Growthpoint Properties has launched an innovative pilot project that turns the large volumes of food waste generated by client businesses at its properties into compost.
The project, named G-Eco, short for Growthpoint Eco, is a partnership with Life & Earth and has the potential for massive environmental benefits.
It is being tested at Growthpoint Business Park in Midrand using waste produced at four of Growthpoint’s large multi-tenant properties in the area.
The idea was born 18-months ago when Growthpoint embarked on a waste-management analysis process to measure waste sent to landfills and the effectiveness of its existing initiatives to reduce this. Results revealed that the waste generated by its building users and sent to landfill was substantial.
Knowing that 40% to 60% of landfill waste comes from organic waste from food and garden waste, Growthpoint embarked on an innovative six-month wet waste diversion trial, which started at the beginning of July this year.
“We are converting the wet waste collected at our properties taking part in the trial into compost, which is then used at these properties,” says Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability at Growthpoint.
To start the project, driven by Growthpoint’s Industrial Property Division, Life & Earth installed a food waste composting machine at Growthpoint Business Park in Midrand. The plant turns food waste into 100% organic compost and can process up to 1,000kg of food waste each day with the capacity to make about nine tonnes of compost a month.
Then, Growthpoint’s current waste contractors at Growthpoint Business Park, Woodlands Office Park, Woodmead Retail Park and Central Park were trained about the process and how to separate wet waste at source. Growthpoint also worked with its clients at these properties, encouraging them to separate their food waste.
The waste is taken to the composting plant at Growthpoint Business Park, where it is processed.
During its first four months of the trial, Growthpoint diverted 16 tonnes of waste from landfill and produced six cubic metres of nutrient-rich soil, which is reapplied at Growthpoint Business Park.
The resulting positive environmental impacts are significant when considering that composting food waste on site instead of sending it to landfill reduces CO2e emissions by 332kg per tonne – and this is just the start.
By removing food waste from the waste stream, recyclables increase by about 30%. Composting food waste is also a cleaner and healthier. It reduces vermin and rat infestations and removes bad smells from rotting food. Also, it reduces harmful vehicle emissions, with fewer trips now needed to take waste to the dump, as well deliver garden compost to the properties.
Importantly, a focus on food waste creates more awareness about the problem and helps clients manage their food costs as they strive to reduce both. So, the project stands to have a direct positive impact of Growthpoint’s clients’ businesses.
Proactive waste management initiatives such as G-Eco have become essential in South Africa. According to Life & Earth, the country sends more than 10.2m tonnes of food waste to landfill every year, and food waste costs our economy more than R4.6bn annually.
“The G-Eco waste-to-soil project is one component of Growthpoint’s bigger waste management strategy,” explains van Antwerpen.
It already reduces waste through recycling, and plans to ensure all its buildings have onsite recycling by the end of 2018.
Based on the success of the G-Eco pilot, Growthpoint plans to introduce more waste-to-soil plants in other areas of the country where it has clusters of property assets.
“We are excited to find out exactly how much waste-to-landfill we will be able to save with our different waste management programmes, but we are confident that it will be substantial,” says van Antwerpen. He also notes: “This innovative project contributes to Growthpoint’s environmentally responsible leadership and furthers our sustainable business journey.”
Growthpoint provides space to thrive with innovative and sustainable property solutions. It is the largest South African primary REIT listed on the JSE, and owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 547 property assets, locally and internationally.
Growthpoint is a Platinum Founding Member of Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), a member of the GBCSA’s Green Building Leader Network, a component of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index and has been included in the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index for eight years running. It owns and co-owns the largest portfolio of certified green buildings of any company in South Africa and is recognised as a leading developer of green buildings. Growthpoint recently launched the only property portfolio in South Africa to be highly rated by both the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and the GBCSA, aptly named the Thrive Portfolio.
Growthpoint Properties Limited
Werner van Antwerpen, head of sustainability
011 944 6598
Have you ever felt frustrated with the food waste that you throw away, knowing that it will be sent to landfill, and not knowing what could be done instead? To address this problem in its own office, Solid Green introduced both a worm farm and a Bokashi composting system.
A recent report entitled ‘Food Loss and Waste: Facts and Futures’, issued by the WWF, notes that, in South Africa, 10 million tonnes of food go to waste every year. That’s a third of the food produced annually in this country. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has valued this loss at R61.5 billion.
Recycling food waste is one way of taking responsibility for food that is not consumed. Recycling is also important because, once food waste enters the waste stream, other recyclables are more difficult to separate as they become contaminated.
Solid Green’s first worm farm reduced our organic waste significantly; and we soon introduced a second worm farm as the first one was not capable of processing all our organic waste. After five years, we have two super-healthy worm farms, with the worm population quadrupled (at least). The farms also generated a significant amount of worm urine, which can be used as organic fertiliser on plants, or as a sink cleaner!
Soon after the farms’ introduction, we realised that worms are picky eaters and that we needed something to take care of all the food waste they were not able to deal with, such as citrus fruit peels as well as meat and dairy leftovers. The Bokashi composting system was then introduced and has been amazing. These two systems have enabled us to compost 100% of food waste produced in our office. This compost is then used for the plants in our office. We also gave our staff two Bokashi bins so that people could implement this practice at home as well.
HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK?
Bokashi bran is a mix of beneficial microbes, which enhances the composting process. You start with a little bran in the Bokashi bin, then add your food scraps, add some more Bokashi bran and repeat until the bin is full. The Bokashi bin does not smell and can be kept in the kitchen until it is full. As such, it is a handy system if you live in an apartment. At our office, we keep a small bin on top of the counter and this is regularly emptied into the Bokashi bin on our balcony.
When the Bokashi bin is full, you leave it to stand for about a month – which is why it is handy to have two bins. You can then transfer it to a compost heap, or dig a hole in the garden where it can compost further. Or you can transfer it to a bigger container, let it stand for two more months, and then use the compost for pot plants or in the garden. Alternatively, you can deliver your Bokashi to a local composting scheme, or food garden.
Here are some useful links to assist with sourcing these systems:
- Earth Probiotic (Shop)
- Earth Probiotic
- Worm Farm
- The Unconventional Farmer
- The Compost Gardener
More than 1 000 tonnes of waste has dodged the dump this year thanks to the Schools Recycling Programme of Coca-Cola Beverages SA – a landfill-saving 300 tonnes more than was collected by participating schools in 2016.
Along the way, learners created everything from skipping ropes, abacus counters, backpacks and stationery holders to musical instruments – all from junk.
Guests were treated to a musical performance on a violin made of tin, while a living plant wall made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) adorned the venue.
Just under 600 schools took part, involving half a million learners in an initiative that earns revenue for the schools while instilling the values of environmental stewardship in the youngsters who, in turn, spread the message at home and in their communities.
“Our ideal is to nurture a generation of environmental champions to create a permanent shift in the way we deal with waste as a society,” said CCBSA MD Velaphi Ratshefola.
The top three primary and high schools in the country were unveiled at a festive awards ceremony on Wednesday at The Sheds in Alexander Street, Johannesburg, where guests were treated to performances by SA’s Got Talent finalists Paint Addiction, among others.
In the primary school competition, the first prize of R50 000 went to Ekuthuleni Primary School, Kwa-Mashu in Durban, the 2ndprize of R30 000 to Siphosethu Primary School, also from Kwa-Mashu, Durban and third prize of R20 000 to Motjibosane Primary School from Hammanskraal.
In the high school competition, the first prize of R50 000 went to Motherwell High School in Port Elizabeth, the 2nd prize of R30 000 to V.M. Kwinana Secondary School, Port Elizabeth and third prize of R20 000 to Tlhatlogang Secondary School in Mofolo, Soweto.
All the prize money will be used to upgrade the schools’ infrastructure, meaning the schools recycling class of 2017 have left a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.
Director for General Waste Minimisation in the Department of Environmental Affairs, Mr Dumisani Buthelezi, said: “We need big corporates to take responsibility for the collection of their post-consumer waste and that’s exactly what Coca-Cola Beverages SA is doing with its Schools Recycling Programme.
“At the same time, these learners are developing their critical thinking skills in a practical exercise that challenges them to combine development objectives with environmental stewardship. It’s wonderful to see such commitment from these youngsters.”
The winning schools were selected from those that collected more than 2 tonnes of waste a month for the duration of the competition, and were judged not only on the volume of waste collected, but also their involvement of parents and communities in the process.
The programme exceeded its target of 820 tonnes of waste collected by 40%, with the total haul for the year of 1 146 tonnes breaking all previous records.
Close to R15 million has been invested in the Schools Recycling Programme since its inception six years ago, more than 60 young people have been employed as Recycling Representatives and 134 collectors have been trained and supported.
This year’s awards and prizes, which included the 8 Tonne Challenge, were valued at over R1 million in total.
For the first time, Waste Collector Recognition Awards were formalised in 2017 to call attention to the loyalty and service of partner collectors and businesses.
As part of CCBSA’s Enterprise Development Programme, collectors were given professional help to develop their businesses and become more sustainable in the long run.
More than half a million learners from almost 600 schools have taken a message in the bottle into their homes and communities this year as part of Coca-Cola Beverages SA’s Schools Recycling Programme.
On September 27, these young environmental ambassadors will find out who came out tops at the annual Schools Recycling Awards ceremony in Johannesburg, where the top three waste-busting primary and high schools will be announced.
Participating schools commit to collecting at least 1000kg of waste a month – at least 30% of which must be polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – and those with a monthly haul of more than 2 tonnes stand a chance of winning cash prizes to be used for the upgrading of their facilities.
The programme is a part of CCBSA’s commitment to collecting post-consumer waste and raising awareness about the importance of waste management and recycling among learners in regions where it has a presence.
“Schools are the perfect partner in such a programme as learners take the message of environmental stewardship home with them, spreading it within their direct circle of influence and, in the longer term as they grow up and become adults, driving responsible behaviour in their families and communities,” says Tsholofelo Mqhayi, Head: Enterprise and Community Development at CCBSA.
The programme has gone from strength to strength in the six years since its inception, with a total of 597 schools participating in 2017, compared to 40 in 2011.
Last year schools collected a total of 710 tonnes of PET, cans and paper, saving 3 951.6m³ of landfill space.
Apart from standing a chance of winning a cash prize – and helping to remove PET from the waste stream – participating schools earn revenue from the recycling material collected, while learners begin to understand complex sustainability issues.
“Using knowledge, critical thinking skills and values, they are developing the capacity to participate in decision making about environmental and development issues,” says Mqhayi.
The programme has also created permanent jobs for 53 youth Recycling Representatives in CCBSA and elsewhere.
Once the competition has closed for the year, the top 10 schools undergo a rigorous adjudication process during September to determine the top three schools nationally.
Judges consider what each school has collected and also give schools an opportunity to present how they have included communities and parents in the process.
The Schools Recycling Awards are held to honour the schools that have excelled in the programme. The event is attended by learners and teachers from various regions, as well as stakeholders who have assisted in making the programme a success.