These and other crucial issues faced in the recycling sector were discussed and information shared during a workshop hosted by PETCO in Polokwane on 3 July 2014.
The well attended workshop was aimed at sharing information about waste management and recycling initiatives in the Limpopo area, to launch PETCO’s projects as well as give insight into challenges faced in the sector.
Close on 100 stakeholders were in attendance representing environmental groups, corporates, industry, cooperatives, collectors, waste management companies, NGO’s and both local and provincial government representatives.
Presentations were given by a range of speakers:
- Idah Ngobeni of the Limpopo Economic Development and Tourism department (LEDET) and Ms Mautla of the Polokwane Municipality shared perspectives on waste management and recycling in the Limpopo province and Polokwane respectively.
- Mashudu Mulaudzi Chairman of the Limpopo Waste and Recycling Forum spoke on their activities and challenges.
- Ms Nora Tager of the PEACE foundation and Thinana Co-Operative representatives gave an overview of the Senwarbarwana Recycling Project in Polokwane.
- Fanus Beytell of Antiwaste shared insights on PET collection realities in the province.
- Jacques Lightfoot of PlasticsSA gave an overview of the PlasticsSA’s “Zero plastic waste to landfill by 2030” vision.
- Belinda Booker of PETCO gave a snapshot of PETCO’s activities and the sponsored projects in the region.
As a follow up to the workshop and as part of supporting existing and new collectors in the region, PETCO facilitated a collectors’ training workshop in the afternoon. The aim of the training was to give collectors information they need to sustain their livelihoods, and weather the current challenges on the ground such as lack of access to markets and buyers of material, price differentiation and high transport costs.
Collectors were reminded of the importance of maintaining quality in their PET collections and adding value, by sorting PET according to colours (clear blue, green, and brown) thus potentially increasing the price attained from buyers for their recyclables. The importance of collecting higher volumes of PET was also emphasized together with the opportunities for collaborating with their fellow collectors to club together and attain minimum quantities per month in order for them to supply to recyclers directly.
The Story of PET Bottle Collection
A total of 60 collectors attended the workshop together with representatives from other material industry bodies who gave the collectors relevant information in order to increase the value they get for their recyclables and a tangible return for their efforts.
- Innocent Godo of the Glass Recycling Company reminded the collectors the importance of volumes.
- Jacques Lightfoot of Plastics|SA showed the collectors the different ways to identify plastics and their importance for recycling.
- Ursula Henneberry of the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa assisted collectors with sorting the different grades of paper and Tetrapak.
- Tinus van Niekerk of Seshego Buy Back Centre engaged his fellow collectors about the pricing of cans and volumes required.
The workshop ended with words from Ms Idah Ngobeni from LEDET who commended the collectors for their efforts in collecting recyclable materials in Limpopo.
“You are the people that are helping us save landfill space, but most importantly keeping our towns clean for tourism purposes. I know that sometimes it seems as if we have forgotten about you but that is not the case, we are working towards finding ways to leverage your efforts and give you the necessary tools” Ngobeni said.
The following day some of the delegates and officials were taken on a site visit tour to Antiwaste, a PETCO supported operation in Polokwane. For some it was the first time that they visited a sorting, bailing and storage facility and they were suitably impressed and enlightened.
PETCO is proud to have hosted the workshops and afford delegates the opportunity to see collection in action in Polokwane. PETCO aims to continue building working relationships with the collectors in the area and is collaborating with the LEDET and the Polokwane Municipality to ensure that PET collection is beneficiated in Limpopo.