November 22, 2006
By Tabisa Mntengwana
RECYCLING is becoming a way of life for many people concerned about the effect of huge mountains of waste on the environment. And now, recycling has become as easy as putting out the trash for households in Lonehill and Magaliessig.
Generally, homeowners have to transport their waste to recycling centres, which often puts people off. However, a new initiative in these two northern suburbs makes recycling that much more effortless. Households are being supplied with specially branded blue bags, into which they can sort their glass, plastic and cans.
The programme, which started on Monday, 6 November, is an initiative between Pikitup, the City's waste utility, and Mama She Waste Recyclers, a non-governmental organisation involved in various recycling activities. It is aimed at reducing the amount of refuse destined for the city's landfill sites.
Pikitup at work in the city
Residents must put plastic, glass and cans in the blue bags, while paper and cardboard must still be put in Mondi's Ronnie bags. Mondi, the paper company, collects the Ronnie bags every second Tuesday in those suburbs. The blue bags must put out with Pikitup's wheelie bins for collection every Monday. Pikitup empties the wheelie bins and Mama She Waste collects the blue bags.
The bags are then sorted at Mama She Waste's facilities in Lombardy East and are dispatched to relevant recycling companies.
"We are currently increasing our focus on recycling in the city," explained Christa Venter, Pikitup's special projects manager. "All this forms part of our new strategy aimed at escalating recycling activities through projects such as this one."
Materials like plastic beverage bottles; household plastic bottles such as shampoo, cleaning chemicals and pool chemicals; plastic shopping bags; black bags and plastic wrap; buckets and crates must be placed in the blue bags. Glass beverage bottles; disposable food containers such as yoghurt, margarine and take away containers; beverage tins and foil must also be put in the blue bags.
Light bulbs, mirrors, windowpanes, ceramics and unwashed food tins cannot be recycled.
For the first three months of the programme Pikitup will supply the blue bags free of charge, thereafter they are available from Lonehill Spar and Pick 'n Pay, as well as Engen garages. According to a press release, however, households in Lonehill will also be able to use other refuse bags should they run out of blue bags.
Pikitup has already started workshops in the Lonehill and Magaliessig areas to educate residents about the importance of recycling and the environmental effect of waste. "We feel that there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of educating people about recycling," said Venter. "In some areas people are participating but at the same time we want everybody to be part of this initiative."
The utility is involving primary schools, high schools and nursery schools in the area "to obtain maximum support", reads the press release. Recycling is an economically viable option in the informal employment sector as it provides jobs in places like the sorting plants.
Pikitup plans to introduce the programme in areas like Fourways and Diepsloot early next year.
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