Airport Valley Community Centre Recycling Swap Shop

BY Vicky Porter

Nestled in the heart of the Walmer Township Community lies the Airport Valley Community Centre.  Fuelled by volunteerism and donations, the centre provides basic consumer goods to children and their families in return for their recyclables.  The centre was the brainchild of Walmer Methodist Church and is managed by Audrey van Wyk, who oversees the church’s mission and outreach programmes.

On Thursday afternoons children can be seen lining up outside the centre with bags of recyclable material.  They are rewarded points per bag, which can then be redeemed inside the swap shop for consumables.  In order to keep control and offer a more personal shopping experience, an average of 2 children are assisted at a time.  The centre provides for approximately 50 children per week, running on a budget of R500.00 per swap shop. “We started with 150 children, but we rely on volunteerism and donations to keep the shop open,” shared Audrey, “our most popular items include non-perishables, toiletries and stationery – but we welcome any contributions.”

Recycling buyback projects operate on the premise of waste becoming currency.  This teaches members to take responsibility for their waste and to work for their keep.  “We believe in a hand up, and these projects teach valuable life lessons to children, whilst cleaning up their immediate environments,” said Kay Hardy, General Manager and Co-Owner of The Waste Trade Company.

The Waste Trade Company partnered with the centre in July 2018 and has since collected 2453kg of recyclables.  The main products collected are plastic bottles, glass and cans.  The children collect an average of 160kg per week.  “The centre benefits by receiving free collections and a financial rebate for their recyclables,” said Emmy Nxayeka, Schools Project Manager of The Waste Trade Company, “companies can also donate their recycling to the project, we will collect it from their premises but Airport Valley Swap Shop will receive the financial contribution.”

 December 07, 2018
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