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Thabiso Dube and Tim Bettany - Waste As A Resource

Both individuals and businesses generate large amounts of waste: from food and garden waste, to old clothes, furniture and appliances, plastic bags and paper, to construction and demolition waste, manufacturing and industrial waste, sludge, ... the list continues. Much of this waste goes to landfill sites or when not handled correctly pollutes the environment. There is a need to challenge people's mindsets to change their traditional methods of dealing with waste disposal and to develop a better understanding of waste as a resource.

USE-IT is an award-winning Durban based section 21 company which was established in June 2009 to identify waste beneficiation opportunities in the eThekwini Municipal area.

An overriding goal of the non-profit organisation is to help divert waste from landfill sites and to create employment in the green economy through providing a number of specialised services.

USE-IT managing director Chris Whyte says, "Waste includes raw materials which manufacturers haven't used. By encouraging reuse, recycling and resource recovery in businesses, we can reduce the amount of
waste that ends up in landfill. In addition, reducing a business's waste can save money, and benefit the environment. Any waste material can then be collected, and people upskilled to take advantage of these resources through utilising waste beneficiation technologies."

Further to this process, waste collection and skills training can be funded through enterprise development funds or through CSI funds to gain BBBEE points.

In order to ensure a practical uptake on recycling opportunities, USE-IT has constructed a waste beneficiation centre in Hammarsdale and partnered with Impilo Yesibili (Pty) Ltd as the commercial implementing agent. Impilo Yesibili manager Thabiso Dube says, "This project is extremely exciting and is a first for the African continent."

The new centre is a green building development, which has been constructed using Compressed Earth Blocks as the main building material. USE-IT has developed a means to compress waste soils and construction rubble to create blocks for building green, sustainable housing.

USE-IT has incorporated as many natural resources as possible in their construction and through using natural light and feature walls with glass bottles the reliance on energy is minimised, and thermal efficiency maximised.

Other green elements include rain-water harvesting, stormwater collection systems, energy efficient hot water systems and the construction of an engineered wetland or bioswale on site all have positive effects on the environment. Funding for the centre was secured from the Green Fund.

The Centre comprises offices, a meeting area, a training area and a retail area to showcase and sell the products to be manufactured at the site. A key component is the 10 incubators which have been established to accommodate community-type projects in waste beneficiation, waste to art and up-cycling
production areas.

Dube said, "This centre will play an important role in providing the opportunity for recycling projects to have
application in the real world.

Throughout the value chain the waste stream has the potential to create sustainable jobs for entrepreneurs
and their employees." Of note, the Centre has been developed in consultation with Hammarsdale community members as part of developing the local township economy.

The initial project focus will be on using recycled wood pallets and other waste wood that could be used to manufacture desks in a range of applications including in schools, offices and canteens.

"We need to identify additional waste streams and scale these up to develop sustainable businesses. Through each incubation recycling project four to five new jobs are created as well as numerous indirect and informal jobs which have an enormous impact on wealth creation," commented Dube.

The Centre will create organic farming applications on the lower portion of the site that will result in local vegetable production but also address local food security.

A nursery for indigenous plants is planned on the site to grow and supply commercial markets with maintained and serviced planters that will promote our natural species, whilst educating local schools on the value of indigenous plants as a resource. A tenant for the expansive warehouse component is also

"There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we look at the environment," says Whyte. "There is a lack of understanding about the value of waste. A better understanding of the importance of recycling needs to be developed and this can be achieved through partnerships between government, business, industry and social responsibility championed by NPOs."

 Thabiso Dube and Tim Bettany Waste As A Resource.JPG
 Thabiso Dube and Tim Bettany Waste As A Resource.pdf

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