National acclaim for female-owned recycling initiative

Mpumalanga recycling project, Bophelo Recycling, has received acclaim for improving the lives and livelihoods of Ermelo community members while making a positive difference to the environment.

When Johanna Leshabane launched Bophelo Recycling in 2007 after being retrenched, little did she know that her dream of fighting unemployment in her community would evolve into an award-winning business.

Johanna Leshabane Bophelo Recycling
Johanna Leshabane of Bophelo Recycling

36 tonnes of recyclable PET plastic

Today, with 11 full-time staff and 20 part-time waste pickers, the waste buy-back centre collects 36 tonnes of recyclable PET plastic from informal settlements, households and schools in the Ermelo area. This equates to a 79% increase in total collection volumes since inception.

Polymer producer Safripol and the national industry body for PET recycling (PETCO) have together provided Leshabane with supporting recycling infrastructure worth R500 000. The joint contribution included, among other things, a shipping container, electricity supply, trailer, roofing structure, trolleys, signage, fencing and branding, as well as training and mentoring support.

The support has helped stimulate job creation, economic growth and development in the area, and, as a result, Bophelo has recently received national acclaim. 

The acclaim, in the form of the Responsible Care Initiative Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category, came from the Chemical and Allied Industries Association (CAIA). It recognises the impact the project has made on improving the lives and livelihoods of Ermelo community members while making a positive difference to the environment.

“I feel so blessed and very honoured,” says Bophelo owner, Johanna Leshabane, who attributed her success to PETCO, Safripol, her staff, and the community members, schools and companies which allowed Bophelo to collect their waste.

“I couldn’t have done it without all these people,” she says.

Looking ahead

Despite the business being negatively affected by Covid-19, Leshabane said she planned to grow Bophelo even more in 2021.

“I’d like to branch out into another town so that we can create jobs in other rural settlements and teach more people how they can start their own recycling business,” she says.

Avashnee Chetty, Safripol sustainability manager, says the project demonstrated that “real change is possible in the lives of the most vulnerable when it is driven at grassroots level, and when community members are engaged as both partners and leaders.

“This project is embedded in the local community, and it is only through joint partnerships of this kind that real impact and sustainable social change can be achieved. Safripol is extremely proud to be associated with this project,” Chetty says.

PETCO collections and training project manager Belinda Booker said the training and mentorship of waste pickers was “critical to improving their working conditions and that of their surrounding communities, while simultaneously keeping our environment clean.

“The PET recycling sector has an important role to play in contributing to the transformation of the South African economy. Few issues are more important,” says Booker.



Latest


22 Jan 2021
Spier lights up the night

The third edition of Spier Light Art, hosted at Spier Wine Farm from 26 February to 28 March 2021, is…

Spier lights up the night

The third edition of Spier Light Art, hosted at Spier Wine Farm from 26 February to 28 March 2021, is a night-time adventure for the whole family to enjoy. A remarkable array of interactive artworks that use light, sound and video will be scattered across the historic Stellenbosch estate, illuminating…

22 Jan 2021
First commercially available recycled direct thermal paper labels launched

Avery Dennison has introduced rDT, the first commercially available direct thermal paper labels to contain recycled post-consumer waste. Direct thermal…

First commercially available recycled direct thermal paper labels launched

Avery Dennison has introduced rDT, the first commercially available direct thermal paper labels to contain recycled post-consumer waste. Direct thermal (DT) paper is a popular material due to its ease of use, high print speed, high image resolution, and wide range of compatible printers. Avery Dennison’s new rDT is the…

22 Jan 2021
Supporting local dairy is critical for economic recovery in SA

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the value of local industry and supporting local dairy will be one of the…

Supporting local dairy is critical for economic recovery in SA

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the value of local industry and supporting local dairy will be one of the factors that will help the SA economy recover post-pandemic. The South African dairy industry is a part of the country’s agriculture sector we can truly be proud of – employing…

21 Jan 2021
Malaysia grants Radical Waters a beverage patent for ECA

Malaysia has granted Radical Waters International a beverage patent for its pioneering Electrochemically Activated Water (ECA) application for use as…

Malaysia grants Radical Waters a beverage patent for ECA

Malaysia has granted Radical Waters International a beverage patent for its pioneering Electrochemically Activated Water (ECA) application for use as a substitute to traditional CIP chemicals for the global beverage industry. Radical Waters was first granted an innovative beverage patent in the USA for Cleaning in Place (CIP) in bottling…


Top stories


07 Feb 2020
Deli meat producer creates SA’s first plant-based sandwich slices

Feinschmecker Deli Meats, who have built up a formidable reputation as the market leader in speciality deli meats in South…

Deli meat producer creates SA’s first plant-based sandwich slices

Feinschmecker Deli Meats, who have built up a formidable reputation as the market leader in speciality deli meats in South Africa, has launched a range of plant-based sandwich slices under the brand name Gudness. It is the first range of its kind produced in SA.

18 Mar 2020
Limpopo residents become eco-warriors

Residents in northern Limpopo are becoming eco-warriors thanks to a new campaign which aims to see environmental waste reduced and…

Limpopo residents become eco-warriors

Residents in northern Limpopo are becoming eco-warriors thanks to a new campaign which aims to see environmental waste reduced and much-needed jobs created.

31 Mar 2020
Sleep friendly food and beverages are the next big trend with millennials

GlobalData predicts that sleep-friendly ingredients in food and drinks are the next big trend as it aligns with consumers’ desire…

Sleep friendly food and beverages are the next big trend with millennials

GlobalData predicts that sleep-friendly ingredients in food and drinks are the next big trend as it aligns with consumers’ desire for a good night’s rest through natural methods.

18 Mar 2020
Avocado growers celebrate the ancient history of avos this season

According to the THP 2020 Flavour & Trend Forecast*, Michelin star restaurants around the world will be increasingly seeking out…

Avocado growers celebrate the ancient history of avos this season

According to the THP 2020 Flavour & Trend Forecast*, Michelin star restaurants around the world will be increasingly seeking out traditional ingredients from some of the oldest civilizations this year, particularly Central and South America.


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za