“This global drive presents the perfect opportunity for people to get behind our initiative to act for change by cleaning their neighbourhoods and public spaces. Our aim is to start a movement by staging regular events and in this way initiate people into the culture of keeping our environment clean,” says Lunga Schoeman, CSI spokesperson for the Shoprite Group.
Anyone can join or organise a cleanup using the digital platform – www.actforchange.africa – developed by Shoprite in partnership with the volunteerism organisation, Brownie Points. The emphasis will again be on recycling with cleanup organisers being urged to partner with local recyclers or waste management companies.
“There is value in waste with recycling offering earning opportunities that can be exploited,” adds Schoeman. Cans fetch the highest price selling on average at R11/kg with plastic, depending on the density, going for around R4/kg.
One NGO that is boosting its earnings through a recycling programme is Vlottenburg Community Organisation (VCO) in Wesbank, Delft outside Cape Town. Africa’s Biggest Cleanup opened Hilton Davids’ eyes to the income generating opportunities presented by rubbish. “One sees waste in every open space in our community,” says Davids, founder of VCO, “even the vlei is strewn with everything from used nappies to old televisions.”
He recruited 30 unemployed volunteers to collect recyclables in exchange for food parcels supplied by Shoprite. These cleanup events take place on the last Saturday of each month.
A local recycling partner buys the plastic, glass, paper and cardboard collected and all funds raised are used to support the projects run by Davids and his team.
“[Africa’s Biggest] Cleanup was an inspiration for the whole community and I am very heartened by the number of people who wanted to get involved in our regular cleanups,” explains Davids.
* Africa’s Biggest Cleanup saw more than 12 000 volunteers taking part in 465 cleanup events in 12 countries over five days in July. A total of 26 000 bags of waste were collected.