PMB man in running for WEF award PMB man in the running for WEF award

2017-01-18 06:02
 Use-It MD Chris Whyte (left) and Lindsay Strachan (Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa KZN branch chair). PHOTO: supplied

Use-It MD Chris Whyte (left) and Lindsay Strachan (Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa KZN branch chair). PHOTO: supplied

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CITY man Chris Whyte is in the running for a prestigious award at one of the world’s most influential global platforms, the World Economic Forum (WEF) currently taking place in Davos, Switzerland which ends on 20 January.

Whyte is the founder and MD of Use-It, an NGO behind a number of innovative waste beneficiation projects including a pioneering brick-making initiative that incorporates building rubble into thermally efficient and environmentally friendly construction material.

Whyte, through Use-It, is in the running for one of six award categories, collectively known as The Circulars 2017. At stake is the AB InBev Award for Circular Governments, Cities and Regions that pays tribute to outstanding endeavours that promote sustainability through economically sound and environmentally friendly.

Use-It faces daunting competition from the five other finalists - China Association of Circular Economy, Circle Economy in the Netherlands, the Scottish Government, Simon Fraser University in Canada, and UK-based Waste Resources Action Programme.

It is, however, one of only two African finalists, the other being a Nigerian agricultural initiative, and the only South African finalist among the 36 contenders across all six award categories.

For Whyte, with a slew of local awards under his belt, recognition as a finalist at the WEF is almost reward enough.

“We’d obviously love being crowned the winner, but we’re extremely proud of our achievement as a humble Durban NGO that is punching well above its weight against some extremely well-resourced international organisations,” Whyte said.

The NGO has made a substantial difference to Greater Durban’s waste reduction efforts, through the Use-It eThekwini Waste Materials Recovery Industry Development Cluster.

In the 2015/16 financial year, more than 11 000 tons of recyclable waste was diverted that saved almost 30 000 square metres of eThekwini Metro’s landfill space.

“Put differently, for every rand of funding secured, Use-It saved R4.19 in landfill diversion, while we’ve created 2 419 jobs since inception in 2009,” he said.

Whyte hopes the award will build on Use-It’s track record of growing, expanding and commercialising its innovations.

“Our ground-breaking innovations and projects across all the different waste streams underlines our contribution to a sustainable future for all,” he said.
- Supplied

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