Coast KZN

19 Aug 2020

Environmentalists use recycling to leave green footprint

Nothando Mthembu ( Southlands Sun) Picture: A team effort towards prioritising recycling in the communities of ward 66 and 68: (Back) Ward 66 councillor JP Prinsloo, DSW Education Officer Preston Chetty, DSW Education Manager Nana Ndlovu (Front) founders of Umhlaba Omusha Waste and Environmental Services: Zuko Khumalo and Njabulo Khumalo.

DETERMINED to leave their green footprint on the Bluff are entrepreneurs and environmental enthusiasts, Zuko Khumalo and Njabulo Zungu who recently ventured into the recycling industry. Their recycling initiative was born from a business idea after noticing a need for recycling in the communities of wards 66 and 68. From this their business, Umhlaba Omusha Waste and Environmental Services, was born.

“As entrepreneurs we love making money, however, we also noticed a keen interest in the environmental space and thought to kill two birds with one stone. Make money and help the environment. We started out by helping a friend in this field. Through research and approaching the relevant individuals such as the councillor, we were introduced to the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) Kerbside Orange Bag Recycling Programme,” said Njabulo.

Eager to get their project up and running, they took up space at Highbury Grounds to deliver a key service to the community. They have since moved their operation to a more conducive location, at the Tara Road Garden Refuse Site.

The pair got in touch with ward 66 councillor JP Prinsloo and DSW Education with plans on how to get the project up and running and enquire about available spaces that they could utilise. “We had plans to re-develop the space at the Tara Road Garden Refuse Site for recycling purposes for quite a while now, fortunately the guys reached out to us with the similar goal in mind, which we thought was a great thing. After following the necessary channels, they got approval to take over from the main contractor that was working in our area as he had experienced some challenges. We want the community to know that there is a recycling service available to them now and increase awareness on the importance and value of recycling. The community is welcome to bring their recyclable materials here.

Entrepreneurs and environmental enthusiasts, Zuko Khumalo and Njabulo Zungu proudly stand in front of their mountain of recyclable materials.

“When they reach capacity, we hope to create a better facility for them to expand their project and so they can take on more work. This project ties in perfectly to the education and sustainability aspect of the Bluff as a whale heritage site,” explained Prinsloo.

DSW Education plays a key role in recycling and waste minimisation in the municipality. The department’s Senior Manager, Nana Ndlovu said she was delighted when she was approached by Njabulo and Zuko who were keen to proactively prioritise recycling in the community and assist with the Kerbside Orange Bag Recycling Programme.

“So far they have been doing great and have been able to recruit two more members as part of their team. This is also speaks to the job creation opportunity that this initiative has. We would like to assist them moving forward in helping grow this project which has a lot of potential,” she said.

This new recycling project began in June and has made a lot of progress, with a mountain of recyclable materials growing by the day. “We’re grateful to the councillor and DSW Education for helping us realise this opportunity and we hope that through a collaborative effort, we’ll be able to take this project to greater heights and multiply it to other refuse sites and communities as well,” said Njabulo adding that the project has been going well despite a few challenges.

Their project entails driving around the community on designated collection days to pick up any orange bag in sight. The bags are dropped off at the refuse site. From there, bags are taken to the recycling section where Zuko and Njabulo separate, sort and store the different materials which are later moved once the required capacity is reached. The large loads of materials are then sold to different producers who will go onto recycle the refuse into brand new products.

“It is a lot of work but definitely worth it in the long run. Ultimately the vision is to maximise production using recycled materials and create jobs along the way,” said Zuko and Njabulo who are both born and bred on the Bluff.

For more information or to report uncollected orange bags, contact Njabulo on 081-801-2733. For DSW refuse collection related queries contact 031-322-0780 or 031-311-8804.