With some early Spring rains the day before, our timing was perfect and we were happy to see that the sun was shining brightly on Saturday the 3rd of September 2011. All our ducks were in a row and the big day had finally come; today was the launch of the Trashback uphinda-phindo pilot project!
The Trashback team met at the Hout Bay recycling centre (HBRC) at 9 am, along with several volunteers from UCT’s Green Campus Initiative, and we began the preparation for the day’s events. Holes were drilled and our signage and banners attached, wood was stacked and the braai’s began to burn, the HBRC staff were briefed and all was on track for our 1pm launch. But as we were putting on the final touches, and to our utter amazement, people from the Imizamo Yethu community began to filter in to drop off their recyclables way before the scheduled time, and by 1pm we already had a queue developing in the collection area.
From 1pm onwards it was all systems go, and the response was incredible! We saw over 90 participants in total bringing in their recyclables, which is extraordinary seeing as we had only informed 30 kids from the Hout Bay High School about the launch two weeks ago. We ended up presenting 22 top collectors with rewards, including clothes from the Clothing Bank, R25 Spar shopping vouchers, R26 fish and chips vouchers from Fish on the Rocks and Grade 10 Physical Science textbooks from Siyavula. The most outstanding statistic of the day, however, was surely the fact that we collected 394kg’s of recyclables from these community members in 2.5 hours, some 394kg’s of reusable materials that would no longer go to landfill due to one day of running Trashback.
Overall, it was a great day, with lots of positive spirit and happy, smiling faces. A huge thank you to all of our partners and sponsors, Nokwanda and her Hout Bay recycling team, Leonie from Ecobuzz and all our enthusiastic GCI volunteers for making the day a smashing success. Well done everyone! We believe it is the start of something great, so watch this space!