Virtuous circle combats pollution and malnutrition

2017-05-31 06:03
PHOTOS: suppliedWildlands strategic marketing manager, Buyi Makhoba Dlamini (left) and Willowfontein Intermediate School deputy principal, Sithembiso Mfeka, sit in a classroom equipped with double seater ‘green desks’ made from previously unrecyclable plastic waste.

PHOTOS: suppliedWildlands strategic marketing manager, Buyi Makhoba Dlamini (left) and Willowfontein Intermediate School deputy principal, Sithembiso Mfeka, sit in a classroom equipped with double seater ‘green desks’ made from previously unrecyclable plastic waste.

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ABSENTEEISM used to be rife at Willowfontein Intermediate School, but not anymore, according to life sciences teacher,
Thulisile Sithole who helps co-ordinate a daily feeding scheme at the school made possible by Wildlands and the Futurelife Foundation.

Sithole said litter also used to be a problem.

“The school yard is cleaner now,” said Sithole, who last week joined teaching staff and pupils in celebrating the delivery of a batch of 20 “green desks” made from empty
Futurelife food sachets and other waste collected from schools.

The delivery of the green desks forms part of a broader “Virtuous Circle” project that promotes sustainable recycling partnerships involving the consumer goods industry, government and civil society - and most importantly, school children.

The Virtuous Circle concept is founded on three pillars - feeding, recycling and education. The delivery of Futurelife Smart Food pouches, the collection of waste for recycling and the manufacture of the green desks is all made possible through the support of Du Pont, Amcor, Futurelife, Wastebusters (the global packaging company), Woolworths, the KZN Department of Public Works and Rural Waste Poverty Alleviation Solutions (RWPA).

“Each desk takes as much as 64kg of multilayered waste out of the environment,” said Wildlands strategic marketing manager, Buyi Makhoba Dlamini. This means that the 20 double-seater desks that Wildlands delivered to Willowfontein, used up 1280kg of multilayered waste that would have otherwise ended in a landfill, or worse, left uncollected - a testament to the world’s endemic plastic pollution problem.

Given the shortfall of 300 000 school desks countrywide, Dlamini says that the programme, if rolled out nationally, could not only address this shortage in an environmentally friendly way, but also instil a culture of recycling among children, ultimately resulting in cleaner communities. She said Futurelife’s involvement had also opened the door to addressing a broader societal objective in impoverished communities: the nutritional needs of school children.

Willowfontein Intermediate School deputy principal Sithembiso Mfeka said they were overwhelmed by the donation. “We believe that Futurelife has ingredients that are bringing balance into the bodies of the kids and better functioning of their brains. Attendance, performance and results have also improved since the feeding scheme began.”

As part of its social responsibility drive, Futurelife has distributed more than 9, 1 million Smart Food meals since January 2009. This includes serving up to 150 000 meals to needy children each month.

Futurelife Foundation CEO Julika Falconer said working with Wildlands has enabled them to take the next step in teaching pupils about sustainability and the importance of recycling.

- Supplied

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