Caption: Member of Mayoral Committee Bennett Nikani (left) and Councillor at the Italian Embassy Dario Armeni exchange copies of the handover agreement for a pilot waste management recycling initiative. 

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) is forging forward with its mission to achieve a “Cleaner and Greener Ekurhuleni” by kick-starting a recycling initiative in the communities of Wattville and Actonville in Benoni.

The Metro recently received a R4 million pilot project which includes two recycling drop off/collection centers in those areas built by NETSAFRICA, an organization formed from the twinning of Tuscan and South African Local Governments.

The project involved capacitating 45 informal waste collectors who have now formed the Nkoza Environment and Cleaning Primary Co-operative. The organisation will be responsible for collecting waste in areas of Wattville and Actonville where the Municipality is not already rendering this service. The waste will be sorted and sold for recycling purposes.

Over the past 18 months, partners have been setting the foundation for the pilot by conducting research, training and constructing the necessary facilities. Now the project is to fully roll-out its operations to the community to test the effectiveness of the model that involves community based organisations in waste collection and recycle efforts.

According to Member of Mayoral Committee for Economic Development and City Planning, Bennett Nikani, the objectives of the project are twofold. “The EMM has developed a comprehensive job creation programme that seeks to activate social entrepreneurship through the implementation of community driven work programmes,” he said.

“Hence the partnership with NETSAFRICA has enabled us to spearhead and provide thought leadership in the area of waste management through the utilisation of alternative service delivery methods. It is in this regard that the lessons that have been generated from the programme will be instrumental in shaping our thinking and approach towards community based empowerment.”

The collection of recycling waste involves the placement of bins in areas where there is illegal dumping and door-to-door collection with refuse bags at households. This system seeks to allow for contact with individual residents in order to encourage them to enlist in the culture of recycling.

The co-operative will make use of a truck and tri-cycles with a front mesh cage for the collection of recyclable waste which they will deliver to the drop-off centres for sorting and storage until it is sold.