Recycling schools earn and donate ‘green desks’

2016-10-26 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Mduduzi Buthelezi (left, Wildlands) and Vukani Mzobotsha (teacher) with some of the ‘green desks’ that were donated.

PHOTO: supplied Mduduzi Buthelezi (left, Wildlands) and Vukani Mzobotsha (teacher) with some of the ‘green desks’ that were donated.

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WILDLANDS launched the ground-breaking “green desk” project earlier this year and it has since gained much popularity as a barter option for the Wildlands recycling schools network.

The green desk innovation was made possible through a partnership with Rural Waste Poverty Alleviation (RWPA) where they figured out how to recycle multilayered plastics, without using one drop of water, and through a combination of grinding and extrusion, and then squeezing and densifying the material into planks.

Previously, schools received a cash refund for their waste, which the schools could use for their schools’ needs. Instead of receiving a refund for recyclable waste collected in 2016, top recycling schools are now being offered the opportunity to exchange their entire 2016 waste collection for a classroom of 30 green desks valued at R21 000.

“This was offered to schools as an opportunity to pilot the initiative and a formal barter model will be formalised with schools leading into next year,” said Moira Potter, sustainable schools relationships manager for the Midlands.

Of the schools approached, a few of the private schools had already earmarked their refunds for their various Eco-programmes, which show their willingness to further improve their ability to teach pupils about sustainability and become more “green”.

Some private schools have jumped at the offer and agreed to donate theirs to less fortunate schools within the Wildlands recycling network.

St Anne’s have donated their green desks to Fezokuhle Primary in Imbali and St John’s donated theirs to Copesville Secondary and Russell High donated their green desks to Alston Primary in Pietermaritzburg.

The desks have been delivered to the schools and formal handover dates will be confirmed soon so that the pupils from the donor schools can meet with the recipients and see the difference they have made.

Michaelhouse is considering this option and will revert shortly as they too would like to donate to a community school.

Howick High has asked to exchange a third of their waste for 10 desks, which they intend using in various places outdoors on their school premises. They wish to receive a refund for the remaining amount as they would like to purchase additional recycling bins.

Chistlehurst Academics and Art, a small creative school, has used half the desks indoors and created an outdoor environmental classroom under the trees with the remainder.

Heritage Academy, which recently visited the Wildlands recycling depot, fell in love with the desks and agreed to barter their waste for green desks and pupils took turns to sit in the desks made from recycled waste collected from the schools.

Pottermanage said to date a 160 desks have been delivered to various schools in Pietermaritzburg.

“We are confident that once the offer is made to the other schools, many more will jump at the offer to get involved and assist schools with desk shortages.

“The green desk project would not have been possible without support from our donors, Unilever and South 32. Unilever worked closely with us to innovate this solution and South 32 are actively assisting us with expanding into northern KZN.

“Futurelife, Nedbank and Zululand Anthracite Colliery are also contributing with the collection of waste, the production of desks and the overal improvement of schools.”

Interested businesses are encouraged to purchase or donate a classroom of desks to schools in need or in the Wildlands recycling schools’ network.

For more information, contact Hanno Langenhoven, Wildlands relationship manager at HannoL@wild lands.co.za or visit www.wildlands.co.za - Supplied.

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