The ‘CAN DO! Trekking for Trash’ expedition has begun. Social change adventurers Michael Baretta and Camilla Howard started their 3000km trek yesterday.
The trek is sponsored by Nampak Bevcan, Nampak DivFood and Collect-a-Can. It will continue for approximately seven months and will see Michael and Camilla walking along the South African coastline (from Alexander Bay on the Namibian border to Kosi bay on the Mozambican border) whilst collecting and recycling litter as well as educating communities along the way. They also intend to raise funds for informal waste collectors. They will need to brave the elements as well as overcome the various physical and mental challenges that may arise.
Michael and Camilla were inspired to start the “Trekking for Trash” initiative after realising how much litter goes unnoticed. “People have stopped seeing the litter, so we knew we had to do something bold to make people conscious of it again,” comments Baretta.
“We have put our lives on hold so we CAN make a difference and DO something we are truly passionate about. We believe strongly in the broken window theory and that by cleaning up our country, we can make it a better place to live in.”
reducing can litter to zero percent
“CAN DO! Trekking for Trash aims to raise awareness about the impact that litter can have on our environment,” comments Erik Smuts, Managing Director of Nampak Bevcan. “As South Africa’s leaders in packaging recycling, we have decided to sponsor this initiative to raise awareness about the litter problem, even though cans are only responsible for 1% of the total litter in our country, we endeavour to reduce that to zero.”
South Africans also need to learn about the effects litter could have on us and our environment, hence the education of communities along the way. “We want people to help us make a difference,” adds Camilla.
3 million steps
Michael and Camilla will walk approximately 20-30 km per day for seven months. According to statistics, the average human takes about 5000 and 7000 steps per day. There are about 1000 steps in a kilometre, which means that they will be walking a total of 3 million steps over the seven month period.
“Communicating to people who don’t know anything about recycling allows CAN DO! to extend its education platform to consumers. Metal is 100% and infinitely recyclable and more than 72% of all beverage cans and around 59% of all other metal cans are recovered for recycling, making metal packaging purchasing the perfect choice for environmentally conscious consumers. It is also about teaching people about what types of materials are recyclable, for example, all beverage and food cans as well as aerosols are,” comments Smuts.
a life-long dream for change
Michael quit his corporate job to fulfil a life-long dream to make a change in our country. “This journey is going to be long, and I know our perspectives on life will change by the time we come back,” indicates Michael. Although he has an adventurous spirit, this new project comes from the heart and Michael will be doing what he loves to do – make a difference.
Camilla shares the same desire to make South Africa a better place whilst satisfying her need for adventure. “After having completed various adventures, including barefoot Kilimanjaro, I realised that I only really grow as a person when I am pushed beyond my boundaries and taken out of my comfort zone. Thanks to CAN DO! I am able to take on this enormous personal challenge and make a difference to the environment and people’s lives,” comments Howard.
daunting physical effects
The physical effects of walking 3000km will be daunting for Michael and Camilla. “It’s the same as walking from Jo’burg to Durban five times,” laughs Camilla. “We have had to prepare physically by training, building core strength and eating properly to ensure that our bodies are strong enough to withstand the various impacts we could face. We have also had to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally because we don’t know what impact it will have on us personally or on our friendship either. We have prepared for this by writing a manifesto to each other on rules regarding our health, our relationship, our manners and our goals. We have had to help prepare one another,” concludes Michael.