A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN recycling plant in Hillcrest has had tons of non-recyclable waste dumped outside its premises — including medical waste. The Keep Hillcrest Beautiful Association’s (KHBA) Marge Mitchell said over the festive season they have been “fighting the abuse” of the facility by residents. “Our hours are well publicised and we are clear on what products we can recycle. We accept glass, paper, cardboard, cans and certain types of plastics, as well as polystyrene — the type you find with fridge packaging — but in recent weeks people have been dumping uncontrollably on the site when we are closed despite us being open on weekends,” said Mitchell. KHBA was established in 2006 and opened the recycling drop-off zone with the assistance of the eThekwini Metro in 2008. The association manages the site independently and other than the council land being provided free of charge, they receive no funding for the operation. She said the Glass Recycling Company and Collect-a-Can have agents who collect from the site and pay KHBA for the material, which pays the salaries of the two full-time staff members. “On Sunday we found three boxes with brand new medical gowns and tubing just lying on the site. There were no definitive markings on it to work out where it came from. Among the waste was unused tubing. The council removed it on Sunday. “We have now had to employ a security guard to turn people away and he has briefed us that people continue to bring household rubbish although he now turns them away,” said Mitchell. Mitchell said the association has modelled itself on the Keep America Beautiful Association, which was formed over 60 years ago by five businesspeople who were concerned about the proliferation of litter in the U.S. “Previously in the Durban area there existed the Keep Durban Beautiful Association; however, it has since changed its name to the Clean Communities Association and their focus is more on education,” she said.