African Renaissance Festival 15-16 August 2019



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Recycling - Good for the environment and economy

Recovered paper fibre has been used in South Africa as a raw material since 1920 and is a well-established waste stream with a recovery rate of over 60%.

The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA), operating as a subsidiary of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA), has for the past 13 years promoted recovered
and recycled paper fibre as a vital link in the renewability chain.

Paper products are renewable because they are made from plantation-grown trees that have been planted, grown and harvested in cycles - and then the land is renewed with new trees which in time will provide a fresh fibre supply.

Beyond the environment

But in SA, paper recycling goes beyond environmental sustainability as countless people turn to the recovery and on-sale of recyclables to make a modest living.

PRASA, with financial assistance from the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing sector education and training authority (FP&M Seta), presents entrepreneurship training courses.

From major cities to outlying rural towns, PRASA has empowered over 3,300 informal collectors empowering them with the knowledge and skills required to start and run a sustainable small business within the recycling domain. Collectors attend the courses free of charge.

Higher prices are paid for separated, good quality recyclables and thus the importance of separating at source is stressed during the course.

Empowering and encouraging everyday citizens

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Udondolo recycling cooperative in Cato Manor, outside Durban was established after three people from the cooperative attended the PRASA training, and shared their skills with others. The project now employs approximately 23 people, ranging in age from 23 to 72. Udondolo beneficiaries
have even started hand-making secondary products from some of the recyclables they collect. "They are more conscious about the waste in their community and that waste is not really waste at all," said Beryl Shezi from the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Students in Free Enterprise organisation.

Many entrepreneurs struggle to survive in a global competitive market. It is evident that cooperation is a necessity for many micro, small and medium size enterprises to thrive. Entrepreneur Cooperatives are
a form of organisation that can help private sector businesses, professionals or public bodies to improve their effectiveness through enhancing access to goods and services that otherwise would not have been available.

The entrepreneurship course offering has been embraced by many municipalities across SA who have invited PRASA to present one-day workshops to municipal employees and collectors. By working with all
tiers of government to inform policy, educate officials, and upskill communities, PRASA is part of creating more effective, efficient waste management systems.


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