Turn­ing trash into trea­sure

Re­cy­cling busi­ness ben­e­fits res­i­dents and the job­less

Daily Dispatch - - News - By ZISANDA NKONKOBE

WITH the only two le­gal land­fill sites around Buf­falo City Metro de­clared full about two years ago, res­i­dents may be left with no choice but to re­cy­cle their rub­bish.

This is the aim of East Lon­don com­pany DNF Waste and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices, a re­cy­cling com­pany which of­fi­cially opened its doors nine years ago.

While ini­tially tar­get­ing the gen­eral pub­lic with the aim to get peo­ple into the habit of re­cy­cling house­hold goods which reg­u­larly make into the trash, CEO Dei­dre Nx­u­malo-Free­man said it was af­ter she joined forces with BCM, the De­vel­op­ment Agency and the Bor­der-Kei Cham­ber of Busi­ness and started the Call-2Ac­tion cam­paign last year, that she be­gan tar­get­ing schools.

The Call-2-Ac­tion cam­paign invo busi­nesses com­ing to­gether with the aim of beau­ti­fy­ing the metro in the hopes of in­creas­ing tourism.

Nx­u­malo-Free­man said 32 schools were cur­rently tak­ing part in the ini­tia­tive.

The schools re­cy­cle ev­ery­thing from pa­per, milk and juice car­tons, soft drink bot­tles and may­on­naise jars to mar­garine con­tain­ers, CD cases and cut­lery.

DNF cur­rently op­er­ates from two de­pots – one sit­u­ated in Wil­so­nia, and the another in North End, the lat­ter of which also serves as a buy­back cen­tre where ven­dors are paid for their re­cy­clable goods.

“In to­tal, we are cur­rently work­ing with 15 schools based in Mdantsane where we have part­nered with Co­caCola, and the rest are all schools based in and around the city,” Nx­u­malo-Free­man said.

“What hap­pens at the schools is that BCM have got these wheel­iebins with stick­ers on them and each school gets nine of them.

“These bins look like the ones handed out to house­holds, ex­cept these are smaller in size and they are dif­fer­ent colours. One bin is for putting in card­board, one is for pa­per, one is for plas­tic and so on and so forth.

“We are teach­ing kids the dif­fer­ent codes for the dif­fer­ent re­cy­clable goods too.

“We have a com­pe­ti­tion with a glass re­cy­cling com­pany run­ning as well so some of the schools have the big green bot­tle banks,” Nx­u­maloFree­man said.

Be­sides the pos­i­tive im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, Nx­u­malo-Free­man said many peo­ple were not aware that there was money to be made from re­cy­cling.

In Septem­ber alone, DNF’s buy­back cen­tre pro­cessed more than 15 126kg of waste and paid out just over R13 614 for re­cy­clable goods.

East Lon­don sup­pli­ers in­clude ven­dors, schools, cor­po­rate com­pa­nies, churches and Call-2-Ac­tion teams.

“The re­cy­clables that we col­lect from the schools have a mone­tary value at­tached to them. It’s like if we col­lect card­board from any­body, we pay 70c/kg.

“But in­stead of pay­ing the schools im­me­di­ately, we ac­cu­mu­late the cred­its to the end of the year and then de­pend­ing on how much they col­lected – say if they col­lected R5 000 for the year – they can then choose some­thing to the value of that money and we pur­chase it for them and hand it over.

“That way they can choose some­thing tan­gi­ble.

“So if it’s a bench or a com­puter, what­ever they want re­ally, we en­sure they get it,” she said, adding that some of the schools also served as drop-off points for the gen­eral pub­lic as well.

Nx­u­malo-Free­man urged ev­ery­one to start re­cy­cling.

“If you won’t think of your en­vi­ron­ment, then think about your pocket be­cause this way you can make some money while still car­ing for the planet,” Nx­u­malo-Free­man said. — zisan­dan@dis­patch.co.za

Pic­ture: MICHAEL PINYANA

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL SO­LU­TION: CEO Dei­dre Nx­u­malo-Free­man at DNF Waste and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices in East Lon­don

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