Recycling Around the World A to Z: Zimbabwe

zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has a problem with litter. Waste is often discarded on the side of roads, people throw rubbish from their cars, and the problem is compounded by an apparent lack of an effective waste management system and a lack of understanding on the part of residents about why they should recycle.

This is evident in the towering rubbish dumps around the country, where household waste is taken. These dumps are not only unsightly, but they pose a real problem for the environment and for health. The Pomona dump in the city of Harare was set on fire in 2013, and this resulted in noxious fumes being emitted for weeks afterwards.

So, waste management, and the attitudes towards it need to improve.

Recycling is the answer

Recycling will reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill which is currently a staggering 70%. Many landfills aren’t officially landfills either, and they aren’t lined, which means that every toxin that leaches from the waste will end up in the soil and in waterways.

The current situation

Plastic is Zimbabwe, and a company called Pollywaste recovers plastic from the many rubbish tips for recycling.

Paper is recycled, and there are 3 paper mills in the country.

Glass is reused and recycled, however, recycling facilities aren’t adequate.

Car batteries are widely recycled.

The business of recycling

There are people in Zimbabwe who make money from recycling. Not only is it great for the environment, it’s a business opportunity.

Companies have sprung up, offering recycling collection services to households, schools, and civil buildings for a small charge. Many give recycling bags to residents which are made from recycled plastic. Some have also started running recycling education programmes for communities.

Greenline plastic recycling

One woman has set up her own recycling business called Greenline, which encourages people to collect and sort plastic at its source. The company then buys plastic from people which gives them an income, and encourages better management of waste.

The company gives out free plastic bags for the collection of waste on trains and buses, and actively campaigns for littering fines to be better enforced.

Supporting communities

In a poor country like Zimbabwe, many children drop out of school to work to earn money and support their family. The company pays them for the plastic they collect and encourages them to stay in school.

What happens to the collected plastic?

The company puts the collected plastic through a machine, which melts the plastic, cools it, and then turns it into a plastic rope which is turned into pellets. The pellets are melted to make bin liners, buckets, and crates, which are sold to supermarkets. The plastic rope is also sometimes turned into works of art.

Before the plastic is turned into pellets it has to be cleaned, and this job is given to local children so they can earn a small income.

Good news in Harare

The city council and a local non-governmental organisation, Environment Africa, have worked together to establish rubbish sorting centres in a bid to keep the city clean and save resources.  Environment Africa will provide waste containers and staff, while the council will provide suitable land for the centres to be built.

The organisation will work to encourage residents to take their waste to the centres, where it will be sorted into 4 categories; plastic, cans, bottles, and paper.

Anti-litter initiatives

Catch them Young

This is a schools programme whereby the council educates children about how to take care of the environment, how to save water and the about the problem of litter.

Litter monitors

The council has also trained hundreds of anti-litter monitors that educate residents on how to dispose of litter correctly.