Putting Value in Waste

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This is a Project under the Save Our Environment Trust’s (SOET) Waste Management and Renewable Energy Programme banner. From its inception May 2016 in Gweru, the project has become the cornerstone of our operations, expanding to Kwekwe with a launch in Gokwe already planned. The project provides companies and communities with environmentally sound management of all forms of waste and significantly reduces its release to the land, air and water, in the process minimizing waste’s adverse impact on human health and the environment. The second goal is to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, reuse and recovering. By attaching value to waste, we hope to create a clean and safe environment and to empower the citizens and businesses operating in Gweru and Kwekwe through collection and selling of recyclable waste.

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SOET has partnered with all retail outlets in Gweru and Kwekwe whereby it is collecting cardboard boxes, pet bottles, clear and coloured plastics. The organisation is also collecting the same waste materials from schools and individuals in communities in and around Gweru and Kwekwe. As an empowerment measure, schools and communities are paid for their waste to ensure a significant reduction in waste dumped at undesignated places and improperly disposed. Illegally dumped and burnt waste has been a major health hazard for communities. Thus it is important for people and communities to play a leading role in reducing the amount of waste material being dumped and burnt. By putting value in waste, we hope to inculcate a culture of recycling which will in turn keep our cities clean.

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The collected waste material is transported to the baling site where it is weighed and packed into 300kg bales. On average, we collect about 30 tonnes of cardboard box, 2 tonnes of plastics and 3 tonnes of pet bottles per month. This translates to about 210 tonnes of cardboard box, 14 tonnes of plastics and 21 tonnes of pet bottles we have managed to recover and recycle from inception. The baled cardboard boxes and plastics are sold to the National Waste Collection company with half of the proceeds funding other non-income generating programmes – training retail outlet employees, Schools and Communities in Waste Management. The organisation has also managed to provide bins to these target sectors so as to reduce the amount of waste being dumped at illegal sites. Communities in Gweru and Kwekwe, have enjoyed improved livelihoods through the collection and selling of recyclable waste material. Other perceptible outcomes that the project has managed to bring out include:
> Adoption of sustainable management of waste and efficient use of natural resources by companies and communities.
> Significant reduction in waste material disposed at undesignated sites.
> Increased participation in waste management initiatives by companies and communities.
> Empowered environment entrepreneurs equipped with skills and knowledge in waste management.

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