Nonprofit polyolefin recycling company Polyco has donated 12 branded, yellow wheelie bins and 500 rolls of clear refuse bags to the Oasis Association in Claremont, Cape Town, and the Breede Valley Asso-ciation for Persons with Disabilities (APD), in Worcester, as part of a social responsibility initiative.
Polyco CEO Mandy Naude says both of these charities recently submitted applications to Polyco for funding during the organisation’s call for proposals from collectors of postconsumer polyolefin waste. “Although they did not meet our criteria for project funding support, we recognised the fantastic work they were doing and decided to donate recycling bins and bags to assist them with the sorting of their plastic waste at both their recycling depots,” she says.
The well-known Oasis Association provides services for people with intellectual disabilities and manages day centres for children and group homes for adults. They pride themselves on providing stimulation, education, food and care, as well as employment to the adults who are housed at the Oasis Workshops.
“We run workshops that provide opportunities for the disabled at our centre to work. By teaching them to assist in the recycling projects – by sorting and managing the recycling waste that comes through the door – they learn valuable skills that allow our adults to contribute to the workforce and earn some money,” explains the Oasis Association’s Blessing Tsiga.
The recovery and processing of recyclable or waste materials is Oasis’s largest project. The organisation currently employs 364 workers at the two workshops, who, owing to the nature of their disability and their need for close supervision, have virtually no prospect of finding employment in the open- labour market.
Recycling over 260 t of waste a month, Oasis has become an important drop-off site for recyclables in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.
“The bins that were donated by Polyco are a huge help to our workshop as we receive large amounts of recycling daily; the bins are used to separate plastic materials and store them safely so that they do not deteriorate,” says Tsiga.
Meanwhile, the Breede Valley APD is a welfare organisation that provides developmental social services to all persons with disabilities residing in the Breede Valley municipality.
There is a great need among persons with disabilities – especially school-leavers who have finished their training at the Eden Training Centre in Worcester – for a place of employment, continued education, general training and the daily companionship of work colleagues.The
Breede Valley APD addressed this need by implementing a recycling project, which currently employs 17 persons with disabilities. The organisation provides an integrated approach to waste management by dealing with waste in different ways, with the aim of reducing the amount of waste that ends up in local landfills, thereby playing a part in saving the environment.
“With Polyco donating the six wheelie bins and clear plastic bags for recycling, they have made it easier for persons with disabilities to do their daily tasks. Our premises can get so full at times that we need any storing space we can get,” says Breede Valley APD workshop manager Michelle David.
The clear bags will be used in a new recycling community project, where personnel from Breede Valley APD go into the community and collect recyclables door-to-door in local rural areas.
David adds that the town of Worcester has become a “recycling mecca” since 2010, when they started the programme. “Members of the community bring their recycling in large quantities to our premises and, with the clear recycling bags Polyco has donated, we can give our fellow recyclers one new bag for each bag they recycle at their home,” she notes.
Naude notes that Polyco is proud to have assisted the Oasis Association and the Breede Valley APD with the new bins, which communicate Polyco’s recycling message. He adds that, although providing and donating recycling bins is not a core focus of the organisation’s activities, both these associations’ passion for recycling and helping the disabled stood out among other applicants.
“Considering our vision of delivering a ‘hand-up’ instead of a ‘hand-out’, we felt that they were both worthy projects to support. As with our other project partners, Polyco will continue to build a relationship with these charities and assist them in growing their collection efforts,” she concludes.