Namakwa Recycling Cooperative takes root

The town of Springbok (Source: Wikipedia)
The town of Springbok (Source: Wikipedia)

Community of Springbok is the latest to benefit from recycling training course  provided by PRASA. 

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) and local entrepreneur Cecil Barends, the recovery of recyclables is gaining momentum in Springbok, a town situated in the heart of the Northern Cape’s Namaqualand spring-flower country.

Following PRASA’s entrepreneurship course during which Cecil served as facilitator, 20 local residents have committed to using recycling as the medium through which they can gain a regular income in a region stressed by acute unemployment.

The course offers four days of entrepreneurship training and covers paper sorting and recycling, the sorting and recycling of other waste streams, business skills development and financial management.

“We were vastly impressed by the ‘can-do’ attitude of participants and the way they bonded to translate ideas into income-generating action,” says PRASA operations director Ursula Henneberry.

“At the conclusion of the course, participants immediately formed a huddle to plot the way forward, and one woman even planned to set forth to collect refuse from her local spaza store the very next day,” says Ursula.

Cecil explains that the group is in the process of forming a venture to be known as the Namakwa Recycling Cooperative.

“While paper recycling is obviously our prime focus, we will also collect other recyclable materials like PET, glass and metals to aid the viability of the cooperative as a sustainable operation,” says Cecil who plans to meet with major industry players to discuss distribution and pricing structures.

The promotional aspects of this venture have certainly not been overlooked and, thanks to Cecil, their project received welcome coverage on local radio and print media. He has also canvassed Springbok businesses who have responded favourably by providing the cooperative with their unwanted cartons and paper waste.

In addition, Cecil is working on an education and awareness campaign at schools, firstly to teach learners about the benefits of recycling and, secondly, to canvas them as an important source of home and classroom waste.

While Springbok will at this stage remain the hub for the recycling venture, Cecil intends extending the initiative to the length and breadth of Namaqualand.

The unemployment rate in the Northern Cape is 26.5%, and with Springbok situated a respective 776km, 932km and 1,160km from Kimberly, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, recycling presents a valuable opportunity for job creation and income generation.