Yesterday meet up I spent some time finding out where some of the Recyclers come from and where they live – a mix of Gauteng, Lesotho origin. Of the several gents I managed to have this chat with none of them live nearby. Some travel from Florida, Fairlands to work and they rotate in surrounding areas at the different waste days. Joshua stays in Braam Fischer and even volunteered his physical address. As to how and why they come to us to work in the past years I am finding out. As with this programme, it is a process, and all is transpiring as it should.
The growing knowledge and understanding I am gaining in this venture is fascinating. Some of the gents have been working in this area and surrounds for years. I know that two of them have kids they are putting through school on the little they make for reselling materials to industry.
Registration efforts and reflectors continue. We now have 27 registered Recyclers, all of who are recognised by each other and Dowry. They do not want others to come in here as much us, if not more than us. You will see a lot more with their jackets on next week and again the following week. Photo badges will be issued in due course. All is progressing quite well. As with any change we must anticipate teething issues along the way. If you have an issue with any Recycler or concern please contact me, and I will need names too.
BIG thank you to Patricia and Marietjie for stopping in to supply much appreciated food and refreshments to these hard-working men. This is a great way to be involved and support. I really appreciate it too as my plate is rather full and I welcome help and kindness with this community initiative. Bring it on people!
Don’t forget to diarise the talk with ARO next Thursday evening 19:00 – 20:00 at Kleine Constantia, and to let me know if you are coming.
Sharing some food for thought and info on recycle materials collected – why some items are taken and others left. More about this and what role we need to play at the talk.
As provided by a fellow resident (as posted on the Facebook page I’mStaying) …
So many people gripe about the Waste Reclaimers that roam our suburbs. Reclaimers are often harassed, stigmatised, treated like human waste and dispossessed of their livelihoods by JMPD and SAPS etc.
However, it is the reclaimers who unofficially started the recycling economy in South Africa by separating valuable materials from waste. We all have a place here. If like me, you are saying “I’mStaying!” then let’s be mindful of how we can play our role in recycling and assist these guys for the greater good of our suburbs. These guys work exceptionally hard and often we tend to get frustrated with them.
Respect the fact that digging through waste is a disgusting job for anybody – imagine yourself having to do this job!
Today I ask you to reconsider your stance on these overlooked members of our society – be informed and assist where you can. I would like to share some insights :
Who are the waste reclaimers?
Independent people who are currently without jobs who are making an honest living so that they can feed, clothe and school their families. They often travel many kilometres a day collecting waste expending enormous energy in the process – often their carts weigh 200kg or more! It takes 23 x 2 litre PET bottles to make up 1 kg which can be sold for around R3/kg. Do not delude yourselves that these people have an easy time earning money!
African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) is an organisation which is collaborating with Government and reclaimers in order to get the already functioning informal waste reclaiming sector regonised by govenment. Waste reclaimers currently get no financial support from government.
What value do they add?
Informal waste reclaimers extract discarded recyclable items that would normally land up in landfills and the environment and sell these to buy back centres for recycling. Waste reclaimers are doing a valuable job which requires intellect, commitment and a great deal of hard work. Their work is saving our municipalities millions of rands in waste management and disposal every year. Due to their efforts in the recycling industry South Africa is now on par in the recycling arena with European countries.
What DO they collect?
The reclaimers only collect what has economic value at the buy back centre:
PET bottles (eg coke bottles), plastic milk containers, creepy crawly pipes, plastic plant pots, large yoghurt containers, aluminium colddrink tins, paper.
What do they NOT collect?
The reclaimers do not take anything that the buy back centres will not pay for including:
• Bottle tops (these are recyclable but the buy back centres will not pay any money for them)
• Translucent fruit containers (eg. strawberry packaging – these are recyclable PET but the buy back centres will not pay out for them)
* Green and brown PET bottles (eg appletiser and ginger beer bottles)
* Chocolate, sweet and chip packets
How can residents assist them?
• Separate waste at source and place only what has value to the reclaimers in boxes or clear packets on the pavements on collection day. The easier we make it for these reclaimers the less time they will have to spend in our suburbs! Respect the fact that digging through waste is a disgusting job for anybody – imagine yourself having to do this job!
• Rinse out ALL dirty containers so that they are clean for collection.
• Remove bottle tops as these are not taken and are often discarded around suburbs.
• Get to know the person who frequents your street – build a relationship with that person and find out what they will and won’t take.
• Show kindness to your local reclaimers – offer bottles of water on hot days or a cup of tea on freezing winter mornings. A little kindness goes a long way.
• Be mindful of the reclaimers who risk their lives on our roads and give them a wide berth while driving.
• Encourage reclaimers to join ARO and become ‘registered’ reclaimers in your suburb.
• Supply reflective vests and reflectors to your resident reclaimers.
• Work with ARO as a community so that residents learn how best to work with the reclaimers for the benefit of all.
Lorin Leuci – Enviro care committee member ♻