Saturday, 27 September 2014

Recycling roundabout

A few years ago when I ran the Himalayan Stage Race in India, I had the fortune to visit Dehli and Agra (and revel in the congested 7hr / 250km drive between the two cities). There I realised what 1.3 Billion people means and also decided that as far as waste and consumption goes, there's little hope for us humans and our trash and the poor planet. There's just sooooo much of it!

Even so, I find pleasure in recycling and that itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bit of hope that recycling my plastic, glass, metal and paper waste helps even a little.

At my previous home, I would put my recyclables aside for a friendly recycling collector, Gerald. I figured it was far more pleasant to find out what he wanted and to put it aside for him rather than for Gerard to have to scratch through trash for these items, which he then takes to a recycling centre to earn a little income. We had a good thing going. And then I moved (and Gerard moved on a short while later too - stable employment in the Northern suburbs at what I think is a furniture manufacturer; I hope he is still there - a really decent guy).

For quite some time there was a recycling centre at a local mall and I'd stop past every week or so to drop off recyclables. And then they disappeared it.

My local hardware store has bins outside - one each for the four recyclable groups; so totally insufficient for plastics. I phoned the people who manage the bins; their number was printed on the panels on the roofed frame housing the bins. It wasn't a very satisfying conversation. I've used it for a few weeks.

About two weeks ago I saw that the panels had been removed and the setup looks like it too is going to disappear.

So, I got online. In this day and age where the environment and recycling is so in, I can barely believe that in my area there are no recycling centres. My closest is a Pikitup Garden Refuse Site in Sandringham. Many of the Pikitup sites have recycling bins too. It's not convenient, but currently my only option. I was very impressed with the cleanliness and neatness of the site and the friendly guys who assisted me.

Pick 'n Pay has bins for batteries and light bulbs. But you've got to ask / hunt for it because it certainly isn't placed in easy view...

Yesterday I went to Makro. As I grabbed a trolley, I noticed that there were signs cable-tied to many of the trolleys promoting a Samsung electronics recycling facility - "Eat. Sleep. Recycle" were the words on the sign.

I asked two Makro guys where this was (I assumed it would be in Makro) and what electronics could be taken there - only Samsung, or any? They didn't know a thing about it (even though there were trolleys left-right-and-centre promoting this) so they took me to the Samsung guy in the electronics department. He didn't know, said he hadn't been told about it and suggested that I phone Samsung. It's enough to make me see red, green and blue.

"No," I told him, with a smile, "the signs on the trolleys are in this store to promote this service. You work here and you work for Samsung so you're going to phone them and find out and I'll come back shortly so you can tell me."

It was one of those days for me.

I went back a bit later and he took me to a container outside the doors where you can toss in any electronic products - and not just Samsung.

"See," I said, "now when other people ask, you know the answer."

I've just found this media release about Samsung's partnership with Makro (and DESCO - the recycler) on this e-waste recycling initiative and here's a list of drop-off points for South Africa.

Today I took an old happy-snappy digital camera (after about five years it had done one too many races and it had stopped working completely and Sony said it would cost more to fix than to buy a new one) and a printer (it has printing issues but can still scan) to the container. A car guard saw me and he wanted the goods. I told him of the issues and he still wanted them.

I figure that is recycling too.

My guess is that a lot more people would recycle if facilities were convenient, accessible and well managed. It really is easy to rinse containers and toss them in a tub to drop off once-a-week or two. It greatly reduces the amount of trash that goes into landfill. Like massively. And your eyes will pop at the volume of plastic in our lives -this is evident only when you separate your trash.

I don't know whether recycling everything I can is enough to save the planet... but it makes me feel better.


Anonymous said...

Contact your local school - a lot of them has recycling programs.


adventurelisa said...

Hey Pieter,

For sure! My one nearby school is always gate guarded so I haven't tried to get in there. Another just has a bin for glass. The nearby old age home only has paper and glass.

At my complex we've got paper bins, which Mondi collects weekly. Plastics really is the big one with most volume.

And I've got a compost heap for veg off-cuts ;)

Anonymous said...

Good day, which Makro did you visit?

adventurelisa said...

Makro Germiston (in the Meadowdale/Edenvale area)