Vision 11s Don’t Waste Time On Rubbish

A waste management excursion has helped show a group of Vision AfriKa learners that how they choose to live their lives has a direct impact on the environment.  Just before the end of term, the Grade 11 students from Vision Kayamandi undertook a full day’s trip to both the landfill site at Stellenbosch and the Atlantic Plastic Recycling firm in the Cape Town suburb of Beaconvale.

The aim was to help them understand the repercussions of how they and their communities deal with waste and how the current situation could be improved upon.

The tour of the tip was conducted by Mr Hasiem, who works in waste management for the municipality of Stellenbosch. He said that the current location would be full to capacity within four years, making it the last operational landfill site in the area.

The current site, which takes in about 10,000 tons of non-hazardous waste per month at a cost of R400 per ton, originally required an investment of R18.4 million to construct. But the problem with a proposed new location opposite the existing one is that it would cost more like R38 million to build, making it financially unfeasible. As a result, after 2018, all refuse from the Stellenbosch region will go to the nearest landfill site in Cape Town.

But informal recycling activity also takes place at the exiting Stellenbosch tip. A good number of unemployed people who live nearby collect and sort things like bricks and plastic to sell on to third party organisations. One of the companies that deals with such items is Atlantic Plastic Recycling. The biggest recycling company in the Western Cape, it has about a dozen outlets across the province and prides itself on its environmentally-friendly credentials. Citizens wishing to gather plastic on its behalf are provided with three types of collection bags – wash plant clear; mix unsorted, and sorted – and need to bring in no less than 500kg per visit. Atlantic then recycles the waste to make into everything from plastic bags and sheeting to irrigation pipes.

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