SOUTH AFRICA: Buy Back Centers sell waste in Khayelitsha

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SOUTH AFRICA: Buy Back Centers sell waste in Khayelitsha shynebellz/Shutterstock

South African telecom operator Telkom has launched Buy Back Centers. These centres are designed to encourage residents of Khayelitsha, a township in the Cape Town metropolis to recycle their waste.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning of the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town and Distell have launched an initiative to encourage the people of Khayelitsha to recycle their waste. For the record, Distell is a global company with roots in South Africa. It produces and markets brands of alcohol. In its 2017 Sustainability Report, the company already expressed concerns about plastic waste management. Distell continues to explore ways to increase the deposit rate of its bottles. The company is also exploring the possibility of establishing small black-led companies to help collect and recycle waste.

These initiatives have led to the creation of Buy Back Centres, where collectors can deposit their waste and receive money, thus improving their daily lives. In South Africa, recycling makes money. Waste pickers are widespread. It is estimated that there are more than 90,000 of them.

Interconnectivity is also one of the particularities of Buy Back Centres, it is provided by the operator Telkom. “It is logical that Telkom provides the Buy Back Centres with the connectivity they need to improve their operations (…). These centres are one of the solutions we need, not only for job creation in relation to the major problem of unemployment in our country, but also to ensure a cleaner and safer environment for all of us,” says Gugu Mthembu, Telkom’s marketing director.

Anne-Gaëlle David (intern)

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