Southern Innovator - - RECYCLING -

While the world has yet to adopt waste-free and non-pol­lut­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing prac­tices on a wide scale, it is pos­si­ble to ramp up re­cy­cling of waste and make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in how re­sources are used and reused. Re­cy­cling also helps in clean­ing up neigh­bour­hoods and com­mu­ni­ties, im­proves qual­ity of life, and cre­ates sus­tain­able, long-term jobs. Where there are peo­ple, there will in­evitably be waste – and the op­por­tu­nity to clean it up and use it again.

By turn­ing to re­cy­cling for profit and in­come, in­no­va­tors can find them­selves join­ing a global mar­ket es­ti­mated to be worth US$400 bil­lion (UNEP). The global mar­ket for scrap me­tal and pa­per alone is worth US$30 bil­lion (World Bank).

As an ex­am­ple of the pos­si­bil­i­ties, fash­ion re­cy­cling and so-called “up­cy­cling” – in which waste ma­te­ri­als are turned into new ma­te­ri­als or bet­ter-qual­ity prod­ucts – is al­ready a ma­jor trend around the world. In Great Bri­tain, for ex­am­ple, 2 mil­lion tonnes of tex­tiles are thrown away ev­ery year, with 24 per cent re­cy­cled and 10 per cent up­cy­cled.

Is­sue 5 of South­ern In­no­va­tor fea­tures fash­ion re­cy­cling and up­cy­cling pioneers from around the world who are show­ing how re­cy­cling can work and cre­ate sus­tain­able in­comes. It also in­cludes in­no­va­tors turn­ing the scourge of plas­tic bags into use­ful, ev­ery­day items. Oth­ers are tak­ing waste cook­ing oil, which is of­ten just thrown away, and mak­ing bio­fuel. What they all share is the abil­ity to de­rive an in­come, and cre­ate jobs, from re­cy­cling waste.

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