Tshwane’s first separation-at-source project in a public space signals success

17th May 2024 By: Sabrina Jardim - Creamer Media Online Writer

Tshwane’s first separation-at-source project in a public space signals success

A separation-at-source recycling campaign, called S@S, at Tshwane’s public Fountains Valley Resort – a collaboration between the City of Tshwane and producer responsibility organisation Petco – is being described by officials as a success, with plans to extend it to other resorts and public areas in the city.

Since February, visitors to the Fountains Valley Resort have been greeted by 12 large colour-coded and labelled recycling bins as part of the city’s first S@S recycling campaign in a public space.

Through the campaign, resort visitors can drop their empty aluminium cans, plastic, paper and glass packaging waste from the food and beverages they consume into the appropriate recycling bins.

“The primary objective of this initiative is to instigate a shift in human behaviour. We anticipate that the habit of separating recyclables, cultivated at the resort, will extend beyond its premises and be embraced in homes and workplaces as well,” says Petco regional recycling manager for collections and training projects Tlou Sebola.

Petco says the S@S bins are encouraging resort visitors to recycle while also achieving other crucial goals. These include diverting recyclable waste from the city’s landfills, as well as improving the quality of the recyclable materials which are separated out – since they do not get contaminated by the non-recyclable, mostly organic, residual waste.

The organisation explains that sorting the recyclable materials also helps waste pickers who receive better payment for collecting cleaner materials, separated according to type.

Petco has also been holding education and training workshops with the Fountains Valley Resort staff to ensure the S@S project – one of a number that Petco is rolling out with its partners nationwide – is well managed.

At the launch of the project in mid-April, Councillor Ziyanda Zwane said that, like much of South Africa, the City of Tshwane was running out of landfill space at its four main landfill sites.

“It is of crucial importance that we separate our waste so that we enhance our recycling efforts. We are looking forward to rolling this out to every corner of the city, to ensure we minimise the waste that is going to our landfills,” said Zwane.

According to parks officials, much of the waste generated at the city’s resorts was recyclable.

Broadening the project to other resorts would enable the city to enlist the help of cooperatives who had experience and passion for collection and recycling, officials said.

Moreover, Sebola explained that the 12 large recycling bins dotted around the Fountains Valley Resort were also made from materials many would consider waste.

“The bins were primarily made from poly-aluminium – a mixture of plastic and aluminium pellets – extracted from recycled liquid board cartons which were used to package fruit juice, milk and custard,” said Sebola.

The manufacture of the 12 bins “utilised 2.5 t of poly-aluminium and polyethylene film. This translates to 750 000 one-litre cartons which were diverted from landfill,” said Infinite Industries CEO Maggie Infante. Infinite Industries manufactured the bins.

These cartons are one of the waste streams that Petco administers an extended producer responsibility scheme for. By making new products from recycled materials – such as the S@S bins – it stimulates demand for collection of the cartons within the value chain, explained Sebola.

Petco CEO Cheri Scholtz said waste management was a huge challenge for most South African towns and cities, but that good waste management offered many long-term socioeconomic benefits, including a cleaner environment, healthier communities and an increase in tourism.

“There are many pressing demands on municipal funding. Public-private partnership is one way to move forward, and it is our collective responsibility to help find solutions,” said Scholtz, adding that there was no one-size-fits-all solution.

“It’s a complex landscape, but we have to divert valuable materials that have recyclable potential away from landfill. Together, we can make the necessary system changes. It won’t be instant, but it is urgent.”