Cape Town - The Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP), with other stakeholders, have designed and implemented a Zero Waste School project that provided schools with a toolkit to reduce their waste sent to landfills and to recycle more effectively.
It was done in collaboration with Western Cape Education Department (WCED), Plant the Seed, Waste-ed, DF Malan High School, Welwitschia Primary School and Bellville South Primary School.
They hope to roll out this project at all schools across the country and make a significant impact on the country’s waste footprint.
GTP chief executive officer Warren Hewitt said the project initially started as a way to reduce waste to landfill in the greater Bellville area, and they quickly picked up there was a dire need for more education around the process of recycling and waste management.
“The project evolved into more of an education-based, reduction and understanding of waste management systems, reducing waste to landfill as well as empowering and teaching the learners about systems improving and creating longevity in their environment,” said Hewitt.
Piloting the project with over 1 000 learners and 90 staff members, Hewitt said DF Malan High generated immediate results and within three months, reduced their waste sent to landfills by 50% and even saved on waste removal costs.
“We didn’t make any big infrastructure changes, but we focused rather on changing the mindsets of learners. It was important for us to remind them that they also needed to, but also that they could, take individual action,” said DF Malan High School headmaster Sias Conradie.
With its high level of sustainability after the initial investment, GTP said the project was scalable, replicable, and produced easily measurable outcomes across different sectors.
“The understanding of waste management and the lack of understanding to this point in our existence has resulted in a massive problem for not just Bellville, not just South Africa, not just Africa, but all around the world.
“In fact our entire existence is now threatened as a result of climate change, a lot which has been impacted by poor waste management and poor environmental management, so any system teaching our future leaders about the importance of environmental management systems is critical for the future of our planet,” said Hewitt.
Hewitt said they were receiving an enormous amount of inquiries from other schools after they presented this project to their local community and the WCED, which enthusiastically endorsed the project with R50000.