Project encourages culture of recycling

This year, Zamile Kuwana and Nothule Gezana’s Thandizam Trading Enterprise and Projects celebrates a year in the local waste management space.

Founded in 2022, Thandizam Trading aims to collect waste material to convert these into recyclable goods and encourage a culture of recycling across Mdantsane.

Kuwana has always been preoccupied by green solutions and sustainability and this led him initially to study towards a certificate in energy efficiency management with a specific focus on solar power.

This changed when he arrived in Johannesburg in the early 2000s and became fascinated by the hard work of informal waste pickers, whose unrecognised efforts were bridging gaps in the municipality’s failing waste management programmes.

Seeing the potential in waste picking prompted Kuwana to return to Buffalo City and find ways to formalise waste picking at local level, to empower communities who struggling to access consistent service delivery. This led to the founding of two recycling sites in Mdantsane’s NU 5 and 8, employing local waste pickers.

Kuwana and his team collect waste from households surrounding the centres and sort through and clean the waste for recycling, handing over materials for processing to centres such as Petco.

In the future, Kuwana hopes to have a processing plant in Mdantsane that will enable them to convert the waste material into bricks and tiles for sale.

He said, “Most of the people are not aware of the environmental benefits that can be achieved through recycling or perhaps they are not conscious about the potential damage of such huge amount of plastic wastes in landfill or incineration.

“I have the feeling that, sometimes, there is still a sense that recycled means bad quality products and cost saving instead of associating recycling with environmental impact reduction. Fortunately, this feeling is changing in the last few years and Thandizam Trading hopes to capitalise on this trend.”

In 2022, the outgoing mayor Xola Pakati spoke of the metro’s plans to develop a database of waste pickers and recycling groups. However, progress on this has been slow.

Kuwana said that organisations such as his would benefit from municipal support in the form of subsidies, incentives and resources, given the value his work adds to the surrounding areas.

“The management of solid waste significantly impacts the quality of life, public health, and the environment. Thandizam Trading believes that each one can play a part in keeping the environment clean and safe.

“We hope to continue our important work in Buffalo City for years to come,” Kuwana said.

CLEANING UP: The Thandizam Trading team springs into action. Pictures: SUPPLIED


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