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Fountain Vineyard Launches a Recycling Buyback Centre

BY Vicky du Toit

Bartering has made a comeback – and is serving a good purpose too.  Fifteen community members from Walmer are now able to shop for their basic necessities without having to carry any cash.  The Re-Trade project was started by Marie Grewar from Fountain Vineyard Church in Miramar.  Since the project started in March 2014, 2500kg of waste has been redirected from landfills to be recycled.


Maria’s brainchild was inspired by the Jbay Recycling Project, “We already had a feeding scheme for the less privileged at Fountain Vineyard, but I felt that it would be great to give people a sense of responsibility by starting a recycling buyback scheme.”  Every Friday morning, the locals bring in their bags of recycling.  They are given credits per bag, and can then purchase whatever they need with these credits inside the shop set up by the church.  The participants have strict guidelines to adhere to in order to qualify as a customer, for example they must be sober and exhibit good manners.  Maria is excited for future possibilities, “we would like to see that the project can eventually fund skills development programmes for the community members that make use of the buyback centre.”


Fountain Vineyard now recycles as a policy and encourages the local community to make use of the publicly available recycling bins on the church property.  They have also provided employment for one of the community members, who now assists with the sorting of recyclables twice weekly.  Mr Bill Clark, a local community member had been recycling for years and was pleased to find out about a nearby recycling drop-off point, “I used to drop all my recyclables off at Priory, now I can easily bring them to Fountain Vineyard”. 


The funds earned from The Waste Trade Company for the recyclables is ploughed back into the Re-Trade Project.  Maria would also like to bring some of the community members to The Waste Trade Company for a depot tour, which will teach them to understand the importance of recycling and caring for their environment, “I have been recycling my whole life, it is so exciting to see how little one sends to landfill when you start recycling.  My waste has been reduced by at least 90% at home.”


Mr Welcome Mkhontwana is delighted to have the opportunity to be able to shop for his basic needs, “I have come here three times now.  The recycling that I bring in are all things that I pick up off the streets in Walmer Township and a bit of cardboard that I have fetched from the Spar across the road.  I am living on my own and have to support myself; the buyback centre has really helped me to do so.”  Mr Mkhontwana brought in 8.5 bags of recycling and was able to purchase milk, sugar, coffee, tea, rice, soap and deodorant.

 June 18, 2014
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