Thinking outside the trash: Recycling in Khayelitsha

The next instalment of the Indawo, Abantu, Injongo eKhayelitsha initiative takes the weekly clean-ups one step further, through recycling. Building on the success of the recycled building rubble, the women-led group, guided by Busiswa Nomyayi, are accelerating their recycling efforts in the Khayelitsha area. The Umvoto Foundation (TUF) spoke to one of the members of the group, Dawn Adams, on the reasons for wanting to recycle the waste collected during their weekly clean-ups.

Dawn Adam’s perspective

Dawn has been living in Khayelitsha for over 10 years, and whilst waste has always been a problem, she noticed an increasing amount of dumped glass over the years. This prompted the idea to collect the glass, hoping to recycle it in exchange for money – providing another alternative revenue stream for the group. However, some challenges they have come across include finding the correct recycling bags and the drop-off points of where the glass can be sold.

The City of Cape Town

Given the group’s eagerness to start a recycling initiative, TUF reached out to the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Management Department to provide assistance for this cause. The City’s response has been overwhelmingly positive, and they were excited to get involved. The City provided recycling bags to the group and also agreed to support the beautification of the street, through the donation of tyres in which flowers can be planted. Furthermore, the City hosted a workshop on recycling for the group.

Recycling workshop

On the 12th of April 2022, the City hosted a workshop for the ladies from Khayelitsha, as well as for other groups from the Macassar area which do similar clean-ups in their area. The purpose of the workshop was to capacitate the participants on solid waste management, waste minimisation and recycling.

Over the past 4 months in 2022, the Indawo, Abantu, Injongo e Khayelitsha initiative has made considerable progress, which lays down the marker for what is yet to come for the rest of the year.