The Thinana Recycling Cooperative was recently announced as one of the winners of the 2015 SEED Awards.
This cooperative comprises of five women who collect recyclable waste in the village of Senwabarwana (Limpopo). They use donkey carts and trolleys to collect used plastic bottles (PET), cans and glass.
In partnership with the P.E.A.C.E Foundation, PETCO has played an important role in supporting the cooperative towards this success. Their contribution comes in various practical forms: in addition to training, there is the supply of collection trolleys and a manual baling machine that has made a big difference in the way that the ladies operate.
‘Our team is proud of Thinana’s success and we wish them more success on their recyclables collections journey,’ says CEO Cheri Scholtz.
SEED was founded in 2002 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to contribute towards the Millennium Development Goals and the commitments made at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. SEED identifies, profiles and supports innovative, locally-driven start-up enterprises that integrate social, environmental and economic benefits into their business models at the outset.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General, and UNEP Executive Director commented that the winners of this year’s SEED Awards ‘are mapping the road toward a sustainable future, and signposting the way to a fully-fledged green economy. Innovative enterprises like theirs demonstrate the tangible benefits of a low-carbon, resource-efficient approach to economic growth to communities, investors and partners.’
Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), added that ‘for the past 10 years, the SEED Awards have showcased the very best of the green and social entrepreneurial spirit which is found at the grassroots in developing countries and emerging economies. The 2015 winners again show resoundingly the resourcefulness and innovative spirit that abounds in these small enterprises and that we want, through SEED and its Partners, to encourage and help to grow.’
These comments put into perspective what the Thinana Recycling Cooperative have achieved. Theirs is an example to be followed – and it is rewarding to know that many of the small enterprises supported by PETCO achieve similar successes in their local communities. Scholtz says that ‘we work with grassroots level organisations because we believe it makes a difference. It is through small businesses like Thinana that people see how recycling and reusing PET is can become a way of life that benefits everyone concerned. Plastic bottles are not trash and Thinana and others are showing that used PET is not only a valuable resource to produce new PET bottles and other items, but that involvement with recycling helps to build businesses and communities, and create much-needed jobs.’.