Fuel for trash scheme

2016-02-18 10:00
Nottingham Road Fuel and Gas owner Steve Bridgeford holds the bags of rubbish collected in his recycling initiative.

Nottingham Road Fuel and Gas owner Steve Bridgeford holds the bags of rubbish collected in his recycling initiative. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A local Nottingham Road resident is championing an initiative to keep the roads in the Midlands town clean.

Nottingham Road Fuel and Gas owner Steve Bridgeford started a recycling initiative in October last year that has seen rubbish picked up from the streets and handed to him in exchange for one litre of paraffin.

Bridgeford said he started the project in the spirit of the Nottingham Road community as a way of giving back to the people. “I wanted to involve myself in the community more and a friend had showed me an initiative online where a company overseas handed out a loaf of bread per rubbish bag brought in,” said Bridgeford.

“Children from Bruntville usually come after school and in exchange for one clear plastic bag filled with rubbish, we give them one litre of paraffin.

“The children have started converting the paraffin to currency and will sell or barter it to others in their community.”

He said the Nottingham Road Spar had also got on board with the initiative, handing out cans of jam and fruit with each bottle of paraffin.

“Since we started the initiative in October last year, we have had 1 989 bags of rubbish brought to us.

“As a result, the streets of Nottingham are almost spotless.”

Bridgeford said that as an incentive to the children, the child who had brought in the most bags of rubbish at the end of the month got a cellphone.

“For Christmas, we decided to give the child who had gathered the most bags since October a mountain bike and a cellphone. Spar then gave them a food hamper.”

He said the response had been amazing and that on average, 10 or more children came to Fuel and Gas with bags of rubbish every day after school. “We have had such a fantastic response from the children and the community. We rarely have less than eight children coming to us with the bags of rubbish.”

Bridgeford said that although the project meant he was paying for the paraffin he was giving to the children out of his own pocket, it was worth it.

“Nottingham Road is such a spirited community, and being a community business, I want to do my part,” he said.

“Most of these children have very little, or nothing at home and through this initiative, I am at least giving them something,” he said.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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