5 Municipally Driven Ways to Boost Cape Town Recycling

Let’s hone in on Cape Town recycling. In 2016, the South African government launched the Recycling Enterprise Development Programme (REDP), an initiative to support the establishment of at least two recycling companies per province over the next two years. Both waste management and sustainability are key areas of interest to the South African government. Resources have been allocated towards developing these areas but opportunities in this sector have not been optimised, according to the Minister of Environmental Affairs.

There is a lot that local municipalities can do in their individual capacities to support recycling initiatives in their respective regions. Some of these Cape Town recycling initiatives can be rolled out in the short term while others require longer term investment. What is needed is a sustained and city-wide effort towards educating the community and creating ways for recycling to become the norm rather than the exception. Here are a few suggestions on how government can do this:

  1. Separate Collection Trucks for Cape Town Recycling

One of the most fundamental ways that government can show its support for Cape Town recycling initiatives is to collect recycling separately at curb side. Just like there are municipal dirt collectors, there should also be municipal recycling collection trucks. ‘Think Twice,’ the City of Cape Town’s free door-to-door recycling collection programme has been initiated in certain pilot areas on the Atlantic Seaboard. Areas closer to town and in the suburbs have not been given access to this service as yet. The question is, ‘why not?’ A more inclusive approach is needed in order for government to better understand the behaviour and needs of different communities within Cape Town. Without an inclusive approach to these kinds of initiatives, local government will not be able to gather data that is representative of the whole city as opposed to a privileged few.

  1. Establish A Corporate Green Rating System

Local government could devise a points system for companies, to incentivise participation in green initiatives like corporate recycling, investment in environmental NGO’s and staff volunteering drives. Like BEE, each company should be given Cape Town recycling points and an overall rating that can be displayed on their websites and corporate material. Over time, with more and more large corporates becoming ‘green,’ this rating will become a key contributor to the decision-making process. The higher a company’s green rating, the more investment it will attract.

  1. Create More Cape Town Recycling Drop-Off Zones

It’s a fact. Recycling rates would increase if there were more drop-off zones in public spaces. The city needs to create more points of disposal at public parks, on pavements, in public parking lots and at designated spots in residential areas. This will encourage the public to take greater responsibility for their own recycling. Government can then partner with certain Cape Town recycling companies to arrange for the collection of these recyclable goods on a weekly basis. Not only will this increase revenue for those companies (and government in the long run) but it could lead to job creation.

  1. Let’s Celebrate Our Progress

It’s fair to say that the majority of Cape Town residents understand why it’s important to recycle or at least that they should be recycling at home or at work. What they don’t know are the important metrics: What percentage of Capetonians does recycle? How are local recycling initiatives faring in terms of support? What can we be doing better as a community? Which areas recycle the most? Local government needs to find a way to produce a quarterly ‘green’ report on the progress of Cape Town recycling. The city’s successes need to be celebrated and talked about. Local newspapers, community newsletters and government’s online channels can be used to distribute this information in a way that is engaging and easy to understand, by using graphs and infographics.

  1. Distribute The Cape Town Green Map 

The Cape Town Green map is a beautiful guide to the city’s natural attractions, like Lion’s Head and Silvermine Nature Reserve. Currently it’s available at Tourism information Centres around the city. This ‘green’ concept has been extended to include recycling drop-off points, eco-conscious living tips and the names and addresses of Cape Town recycling companies that accept drop-offs. This will serve as a useful guide for Cape Town residents. A great way to distribute these guides would be at events like Open Streets. The Cape Town government could have a stand at these events and hand out this extended green guide. It would be a great place to raise awareness, interact with local residents and take a hands-on approach to understanding the city’s concerns around recycling. Another idea would be to include these brochures in welcome packs for new homeowners, which can be distributed to property agents across the city.

Image Source: capetowngreenmap.co.za

Have an idea on how local government can improve its support of recycling initiatives?

Share them with us in the comments section – we’d love to get your opinion.

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