Irista’s race for recycling

Dawn Marsh heads up Irista Primary School's recycling project.

Two unemployed men from Kalkfontein are helping Irista Primary School’s recycling project.

Dawn Marsh heads up the programme at the no-fee Sarepta school.

“I call them Aunty Dawn’s Courier Company,” Ms Marsh said, referring to her namesake, community activist Dawn Roode, who organised the bulk paper drop-offs with the two men.

Ms Roode said the men came regularly to her home to collect cardboard boxes for recycling in exchange for a meal.

“This is just their way of saying thank you. They will make the boxes flat, put them on a cart and take them to the school,” Ms Roode said.

The school has been recycling paper since December last year and it hopes to branch out into plastic and cans.

The objective is two-fold: to raise funds and clean up the environment.

The project has quickly gathered support from companies and neighbouring schools and the pupils have been eager to do their bit.

“They bring stuff everyday and then say ‘weigh it, weigh it. I want to know how much I brought.’ But I don’t have a scale so I use my hands,” said Ms Marsh.

But despite all the enthusiasm, the school is still far below its target, and has, to date, earned
R8 600 from recycling.

A few months ago, Irista placed second in the Mpact Schools Recycling Competition.

They have since slipped to sixth place. But Ms Marsh has her eye on dethroning the reigning champions, who have won several years in a row, and nabbing the R10 000 first prize.

“It’s the same school that wins every year,” she said.

“We were only 600kg behind them at the beginning of the year.”

Irista has until the end of September to beat that school’s current R21 000 mark.

“We need to be number one.”

So Ms Marsh is rallying the community to help the school get there. “You can bring newspapers, magazines, toilet-rolls, packaging, milk cartons, telephone books, Yellow Pages. Paper is not that heavy.”