Durban - Two KZN “wastepreneuers” are among nine individuals and organisations countrywide who have been recognised for their innovative and impactful work in recycling.
The PET Recycling Company NPC (Petco), said Isphepho Enviro Ambassadors in Durban had won The Best Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative award.
Working with 70 registered community collectors and employing 25 staff – many of them unemployed graduates – Isphepho runs a recycling buy-back centre, conducts awareness campaigns, assists 25 schools to collect and separate waste, and organises regular beach clean-ups.
“We found out that in more than 80% of the schools in our township in uMlazi, there is zero recycling taking place,” said Isphepho founder Londiwe Mbuyisa.
The organisation aims to solve the challenges of unemployment by providing opportunities for youth development by making use of knowledgeable and passionate graduates and students in accelerating public participation, environmental awareness, recycling and research.
Among its offerings are a buy-back centre; door-to-door awareness campaigns; school waste management services and awareness campaigns, currently at 20 schools; beach holiday awareness; informal traders and business awareness; as well as facilitating and attending clean-up campaigns in various areas of Durban.
Jointly recognised as winners in the Best Community Recycling Initiative category were Litter4tokens, which operates in KwaDukuza, eThekwini, Hillcrest, Mpumalanga and Estcourt; and Umphakathi Recyclers, from Soweto.
Sue Benningfield, the Litter4tokens area manager for KwaDukuza, said it was important to believe that one’s waste could have an alternative use.
“It doesn't have to go to landfill, it doesn't have to be dumped and it doesn't have to fill the environment,” she said.2022 PETCO AWARDS - Best Community Recycling Initiative: Litter4tokens NPC - YouTube
The organisation gives collectors tokens which they can redeem for household necessities and food in return for every bag of recyclable materials they bring in. About 1 230 families benefit from the programme each month.
Litter4tokens has prevented more than 666 500 bags of ocean-bound litter from reaching the sea.
It has also fed more than 133 000 people through the food token programme.
“What we can do as individuals is to remove as much litter as we can from our land. It’s not a difficult thing,” she added.
Petco said its latest award winners would appear in an online documentary series.
The Independent on Saturday