PETCO proudly partnered with the Tsitsikamma Community Upliftment Programme (T-CUP) and the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) on another ground-breaking workshop which brought together 42 recycling entrepreneurs, representing 11 communities from the Tsitsikamma region.
The 4-day PRASA entrepreneurship course ran last month at the Tsitsikamma National Park, and covered aspects ranging from the technicalities of waste collection to business management skills.
T-CUP is an innovative non-profit organization under the leadership of Yolande le Roux, whose passion for education and development has enabled her to empower local community members to create their own income generating opportunities through recycling initiatives. The T-CUP programme aims to train, develop skills, coach and mentor unemployed people from previously disadvantaged areas in the Tsitsikamma region which falls under the Koukamma Municipality.
Waste management and removal as well as service delivery are some of the challenges faced by numerous municipalities in the country. The T-CUP programme plans to tackle some of these issues.
Having recently launched a recycling project that could create 60+ employment opportunities, T-CUP CEO Yolande le Roux hopes that she will help community members establish 12 small businesses in areas situated between Coldstream and Clarkson along the N2 coastal belt. The project aims to educate communities on recycling.
Bringing new villages into the fold
PETCO takes pride in having empowered residents of numerous villages along the N2 coastal belt in Tsitsikamma through our Category B projects which have a strong focus on public and consumer-based education, and our awareness programmes that contribute to the visible recycling of PET. “We hope that this workshop will empower entrepreneurs and assist them in creating jobs that will enhance development in the recycling industry,” said Belinda Booker, PETCO Category B Manager.
“PRASA feels very privileged to have been a part of this initiative, we feel that education and skills development is crucial in our country. It is wonderful to be able to contribute to the upliftment of people through our training material” said Ursula Henneberry, Operations Director at PRASA. “We hope that this will ultimately result in a recycling culture in South Africa” she added.
Lynda Prinsloo, an independent skills development practitioner facilitated the entrepreneurship course. The 4-day course was essentially focussed on PET, paper and Tetra Pak collection and recycling. PETCO Category B Manager Belinda Booker engaged the audience with her experiential learning approach, involving the use of PET samples and an interactive presentation on PET recycling. Lynda also provided training on basic concepts in entrepreneurship and small business development.
Recycling entrepreneurs who attended the workshop have been registered on a database to supply T-CUP with their recyclables; the organization has offered to purchase the different recyclable material at competitive prices. T-CUP CEO Yolande le Roux is committed to offering on-going mentorship after the training.
“For most recycling entrepreneurs, the biggest challenges are finding an honest and reliable buy-back centre, and transporting their goods to the centre” said le Roux.
Guiding recyclers and creating jobs
T-CUP’s depot will provide the entrepreneurs with this service. Le Roux is committed to providing mentorship on a regular basis, in an attempt to ensure successful business ventures in the Tsitsikamma region. Once they have established collection points in their respective villages, the entrepreneurs will be responsible for marketing the collection points, sorting and collecting the different materials, facilitating clean-up campaigns and creating awareness about recycling in their own communities.
To ensure the sustainability of the ventures, PETCO will also be approaching their members in the region to offer support and ongoing mentorship to the entrepreneurs as part of their CSI programs. In the spirit of collaboration, the workshop also saw Sanparks sponsoring the venue and accommodation, Storms River Adventures sponsoring daily transport for the entrepreneurs with meals and Tsitsikamma Crystal donating bottled water for the duration of the event.
Through PETCO’s initiatives, and that of industry, 26 000 income opportunities have been created in the PET recycling sector with more than 430 plastic recovery stations being established throughout South Africa. PETCO has supported the industry through the provision of training of staff at these sites and partnering on numerous separation at source and school education projects. Over the past 6 years PETCO has gone from 9,840 to 42,651 tons of post-consumer PET bottles recycled or from 324 million bottles recycled in the first year to well over 1 billion bottles recycled in 2011.
Targets grown from 16% to 46%
They’ve grown their targets from 16% to 46% of beverage PET recycled, from 87 000 to 145 000 tons of PET resin consumed, from small to large amounts of recycling levies collected and income opportunities created, from success to success. PETCO will be watching T-CUP and their programs and supporting the growth and development of therecycling entrepreneurs from the Tsitsikamma region with great enthusiasm going forward!
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