‘Green schools’ get thumbs up

SOYISO MALITI

Nine city schools were awarded green certificates during a recycling seminar at the Kraaifontein integrated waste management facility yesterday, Tuesday March 8.

Siyanda Dinginto, owner of SM Mart waste management, of Gugulethu, invited nine schools, including Wallacedene and Bloekombos primary schools, to the facility yesterday morning, where they were taught about recycling and the importance of a green ecology.

Wasteplan spokesperson Tina Krynauw spoke about the dangers of not recycling to the attentive pupils.

She said thousands of wild birds die because they consume millions of plastic bags which end up in the ocean. The pupils also heard that, around the world, 426 000 phones – a recyclable item – were thrown away every day.

“If you recycle, you’re saving energy, which should encourage you,” Ms Krynauw said, adding that if one saved one ton of paper – equivalent to a standard bathtub – one would be saving 17 pine trees.

“We’re running the programme (to encourage) learners to collect recyclables from home,” he said, adding that they would then take these recyclable items to school. “What we do is we then pay the schools, who will use the money for fundraisers.

“We give incentives, including vouchers, trips to restaurants, among others, to schools,” Mr Dinginto said.

The schools are then awarded with a green certificate, said Mr Dinginto, who began the company in 2012.

He said he wanted to encourage communities to recycle and “go green” through seminars.

The seminars will also be targeting pre-schools and schools for pupils with special needs, he said, noting that schools have been bombarding him with requests to teach them about the importance of recycling.

Mr Dinginto said he has been working closely with the City, which has been directing schools to him.

He said he wants to remove the stigma that exists around recycling in some townships.

“People have this idea of ‘we don’t care, we live in dirty communities’.

“I want to remove that kind of thinking.”

He said people have also stigmatised recycling as being something “for the poor”. On the contrary, he said, the recycling market, especially waste management, is a multi-million rand industry.

Mr Dinginto said he was one of the few black people tapping into the market and that he wanted to start a programme that added value to pupils’ lives.

Siziwe Njemla, a Grade 1 teacher at Wallacedene Primary School, said the programme wasn’t only enlightening to the students, but that she and the principal, Wendy Mbude, had learnt a lot as well.

Ms Njemla said she hopes the Grade 1 pupils learnt that they should now be more responsible with waste.

“The (talk) taught us that what you think may be waste, has the potential to help with energy and can come into good use, like recycling oil so it can be used again.”

Ms Krynauw identified the following steps for the pupils to “go green”:

* Keep a divided bin system to store glass, paper, plastic, tins and cardboard.

* Keep organic waste out – turn kitchen scraps and garden trimmings into rich organic compost.

* Share newspapers – so that there isn’t a lot of paper.

* Reuse white paper at schools or in the office.

* Buy recyclable material or products.

* Use energy-saving light bulbs

* Use municipal water sparingly

* Return used oil. Ms Krynauw said you could also contact the City for this option.

* Start using solar energy

* Start a vegetable patch at your home.