Recycling boost for uMlazi

Youngsters get stuck into recycling in uMlazi. Picture: Supplied.

Youngsters get stuck into recycling in uMlazi. Picture: Supplied.

Published May 22, 2021


Durban - Unemployed graduates in uMlazi have been rolling up their sleeves, collecting rubbish for recycling, in a campaign initiated by an environmentally active nature conservation lecturer at the Mangosuthu University of Technology.

Londi Mbuyisa’s organisation, Isphepho, which offers them a modest stipend and helps others establish themselves in commercial recycling ventures, this month received a substantial donation.

Petco – a national industry organisation that supports polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle recycling and collections – handed 120 recycling bins, sponsored by SA polymer producer Safripol, to Isphepho.

“The donation, worth more than R230 000, also included 50 bulk bags, a 12m storage container, platform scale, signage and a 6m volume trailer,” said a Petco statement.

“The colour-coded green (glass), yellow (plastics), blue (paper) and red (cans) bins will appear at schools, communities and businesses in and around uMlazi and will allow residents and businesses to separate out their household waste for the first time.

Lecturer Londi Mbuyisa speaks about her pet topic: recycling.

“This means – at least for those who partake in the project – that only waste which cannot be recycled will end up in the municipality’s landfills.”

Mbuyisa swung into action after being shocked at the amount of litter around. Her first challenge was to convince people to care about the problem.

In time she came across a solution.

“If they dispose of their waste properly, by separating what can be recycled, it could provide an opportunity for the unemployed,” she said.

“They could earn an income.”

Then she learned about exactly what prevented litter collecting and recycling from becoming economically viable.

“It was so much easier for people who had cars to reach the buy back centre, which is 6km from uMlazi, in Isipingo, but difficult for others.”

Meanwhile, 20 schools in uMlazi have so far joined the Separation at Source programme, with Isphepho collecting a minimum of 10 tons of PET plastic a month. The organisation, whose name means “tornado” in isiZulu, aims to increase the number of schools registered to more than 50 over the next year.

Durban Solid Waste (DSW) has also been working with Isphepho since its inception in various activities like clean ups, and education and awareness in schools.

“DSW invited Isphepho to the recycling workshop which offered them the platform to network with various companies and recommended them for sponsorship," said spokesman Msawakhe Mayisela.

“The role of DSW as the custodians of waste minimisation in the city is to monitor compliance of the site, advise, assist and mentor the Isphepho group.”

The Independent on Saturday

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