Green is The New Gold

BY Vicky du Toit

02 August 2017 – The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa’s Eastern Cape branch hosted the Green Is The New Gold conference in the splendid World of Windows venue at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.  The conference theme was based on the principle of changing perceptions in terms of considering waste as a valuable resource, “we also recognized that our theme mirrors that of the Springbok team, who are hosting a game later this month,” said Theo von Ruben, Chairperson of the IWMSA EC branch.  The conference hosted nine speakers from diverse backgrounds and offered various forms of entertainment for the delegates.

First to approach the microphone was Rosa Blaauw from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, who presented the NMB Stadium’s Environmental Management System and elaborated on the various green initiatives of the stadium, “The establishment of a Recycling buy-back facility at the stadium is one of the key focus areas for the near future, and this will directly benefit the immediate community by creating a value chain for recyclable material,” she reported.

Managing Director, Brian van Niekerk of The Rhino Group followed by discussing House Rhino, which has won International Acclaim with the highlight being a paper written and presented by NMMU at the Seeds Conference in London during 2015.  The paper won the best paper for the conference and has been published in an international journal.  House Rhino was designed to be completely self sustainable, incorporating energy and water saving elements and various green building material and techniques.  Furthermore, Brian discussed the remediation of rivers and dams and the negative impact of human interference in natural bioprocesses, “humans tend to swim upstream, and we need to get back to a place where nature can take its natural course in order to preserve our resources for future generations.”

Walter Fyvie, Senior Associate from the Environmental unit of GIBB, presented the third paper, which discussed the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Waste Drop-Off Facility Master Plan.  “Illegal dumping is a pressing concern, annually 85 994 tonnes of illegally dumped waste is removed in the NMBM,” Walter further highlighted the need for recycling drop off facilities such as the upgraded Kragga Kamma waste transfer station and he presented the systematic planning process that was used to determine where future drop-off facilities should be located.

The next presentation discussed how technology can help to save the environment.  Vuyo Sikwebu, Managing Director of Clariter ZA elaborated on how Clariter converts plastic waste into high grade chemical fluid using a unique patented process, “by investing in innovative technology, we can not only find solutions to the world’s plastic waste problems but also create employment opportunities.”

Theo von Ruben, owner of ChemSolved followed with an in depth look at waste minimalization in the automotive and component industries.  He elaborated on the various waste streams found in the industry and alternative solutions to landfill, “Most multinationals have a zero-to-landfill policy in place, however, SME’s often experience difficulty in designing and funding a waste management system as good waste disposal information is scarce.”

Lindsay Wayman, Sustainable Development & Communications Officer and Peter Allen, Technical Manager at Oricol challenged delegates to change their perception about waste, “we need to work together to change public perception, waste should be regarded as a valuable resource”, said Lindsay.  Peter followed by discussing their blending plant to produce alternate fuel followed by energy recovery at the cement kiln near Port Shepstone, “the system aids in the recovery of energy and minerals from the waste whilst reducing coal consumption, raw material consumption and diverting waste from landfill.”

Furthermore, Agripa Munyai, Environment Manager at Tetra Pak Southern Africa discussed the recycling value in all the layers of a carton “Tetra Pak cartons are made up of 75% paperboard, 25% low density polyethylene and 5% aluminium.”  He explained that carton is 100% recyclable, “paperboard can be recycled into new paper product and furthermore the aluminum and polymer mix can be used to manufacture roof tiles for low cost housing and industrial roofing.”

Kabega Primary, Nelson Mandela Bay’s top recycling school, ended with a motivational presentation about the school’s various greening efforts.  Dr Adele Botha explained how Kabega Primary started recycling with Project Groenspoor and The Waste Trade Company and the many lessons they have learnt on their journey to success, “a schools recycling project needs green champions to drive the project, it is an absolute team effort that needs support from all of the school’s stakeholders - the principal, teachers, parents, learners and private partners are all key role players.”  She continued to discuss how Kabega Primary has raised funds through recycling and invested in other projects such as green gardening, water saving and solar power.

Following the informative presentations, delegates were treated to a live performance by Emmy Nxayeka, Schools Project Coordinator, The Waste Trade Company who launched a Recycle Rap.  Emmy was accompanied by learners from Kabega Primary and Molefe Primary.  During the event delegates were awarded lucky draw prizes from various sponsors, presented by Miss Earth SA finalist Lauren Giani, enjoyed beer tasting from Bridge Street Brewery and were entertained with live music by the Mad Hatters. 

Interwaste, Kabega Primary, Greencycle, Oricol, The Waste Trade Company, Chemsolved, Noziqhamo Arts and Crafts, EnviroServ, Vic’s Garden Furniture, Timber Solutions and Karoo Kwezi offered exhibitions where delegates had the opportunity to explore solutions to their specific waste needs.

In closing, Southern Kings rugby player, Siyanda Grey, modeled a Springbok Rugby shirt that was auctioned off to delegates, “we would like to thank all parties that played a role in the successful running of the conference, events such as these really showcase the vision and mission of the IWMSA, which includes fostering communication between all stakeholders in the waste industry and promoting the value of waste as a resource,” Theo von Ruben, Chairperson of the IWMSA Eastern Cape Branch.

 August 10, 2017
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