On Friday 23 October, the Delta Environmental Centre (DEC) and National Recycling Forum will unveil a contemporary and refurbished walk-through display that helps visitors grasp how they can make a difference by recycling various materials and packaging.
Situated in the heart of the beautiful 104-hectare Delta Park, north west of Johannesburg, the 40-year old environmental centre provides education and training on the sustainable use of resources.
“Many of us don’t think about how much we throw away each day and where it ends up. We’ve become disconnected from the waste stream and the processes involved because it has become so easy to throw something away and never see it again!” says National Recycling Forum (NRF) chairman Douw Steyn. The NRF promotes the recovery and recycling of recyclable materials in South Africa.
“The permanent installation aims to make educators, learners and communities aware of the implications of creating waste and identifying ways we can all work together to reduce our impact on landfills and water courses by recycling more,” he says.
“Visitors are introduced to a delightful alien ‘Zork’ who helps to interpret the information about the things we use, discard or recycle everyday,” says Delta executive officer Di Beeton. Zork is gender and culture-neutral, which allows no bias in ‘his’ observations on earth.
“Of course, we need to do more. And the ‘more’ is through separation-at-source and recycling of paper, cardboard, beverage cartons, cans, plastic, glass, used oil, aerosols and electronic waste,” adds Beeton.
The upgrade of the recycling display was sponsored by the NRF along with additional financial support from the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa, Tetra Pak, the Plastics SA, the Glass Recycling Company, the Aerosol Manufacturers Association, the e-Waste Association and ROSE Foundation (oil).
Strategic communication specialist and branding agency Vision Integrated Marketing Communications (Vision IMC) was the creative agency behind the revamp of the recycling displays.
“The centre has been open to the public for generations and the recycling displays had become dated. Our brief called for a complete rethink of the design, flow, type and nature of materials used, using contemporary methods of communication,” says Sean Kreusch, executive director for strategy and design. “We had a team of five working on this exciting project, and tried to create something universal for all ages to enjoy, making it factual, visually interesting and easy to understand.”
The recycling exhibition adds to the centre’s existing education displays: a natural history museum displaying a variety of biomes and ecosystems; the geology of the Witwatersrand, the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme and the Discovery Centre which offers supervised experiments and activities on soil, energy, air and water.
About Delta Environmental Centre
The Delta Environmental Centre is located at Road No 3, Victory Park, Johannesburg. Entry is a nominal fee of R5 per adult and R2 for children (5 years and older) from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. No guiding service is required but can be provided if prior arrangement is made. Closed over weekends and public holidays.
DEC offers accredited and non-accredited skills courses and workshops for educators and environmental practitioners, as well as experiential, curriculum-based programmes for learners from Grades 1 to 12. It is a registered non-profit company and a qualifying small enterprise with a Level 1 B-B BEE rating.
In 1934, the foundation stone of the Delta building was laid. Originally constructed as a sewage treatment plant serving Johannesburg’s rapidly expanding northern suburbs, it ceased operating as such in 1963. Until 1974, the original Art Deco Delta building lay unused, empty and neglected. Its potential as an environmental centre was recognised by DEC’s founder, the late Norman Clifford Bloom. It was also during this period, in 1973, that the City of Johannesburg decided to establish a public park in Delta and to fence off 10-ha as the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary, named after Norman’s mother.
About the National Recycling Forum
NRF members include industry associations, government departments, regional recycling forums, local government-based organisations and utilities, as well as co-opted advisory members. It exists to promote the interests of its members and the formal recycling industry in South Africa by providing a national communication forum for key players in the field of recycling; interacting with central and provincial government to encourage recycling; facilitating the formation of regional forums; and encouraging the establishment of buy-back centres and drop-off points through the activities of its members in the various centres.