Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen joined volunteers and children at the Jeffreys Bay Recycling Project on Monday (8 May) to celebrate a special milestone in the six-year existence of the community initiative.
Since its inception six years ago, the non-profit organisation has collected 500 tonnes of recyclables from children in exchange for goods available at its “swop shop”.
In so doing, they have inspired hundreds of children to play an active part in keeping their environments clean and healthy.
Mayor Van Lingen said what made the project so special was that it taught children about the importance of recycling from a young age.
“Looking after our environment starts with our children. Recycling needs to become part of the culture in which they grow up,” she said. “For that to happen we need grown-ups to take the lead with initiatives such as this.”
She thanked the project facilitators and volunteers for investing their time and energy into making a real difference in people’s lives.
“It is amazing what you have achieved and we look forward to the next 500 tonnes of recyclables,” she said.
The 500 tonne-milestone was marked with the planting of a tree at the project premises in Sarah Baartman Avenue, Mandela Bay. Children and volunteers were also treated to cake.
Project coordinator Tanja Lategan said the JBay Recycling Project was started in 2011 to provide children with the opportunity to turn trash into treasure.
About 300 children on average bring recyclables such as glass, plastic, tins and cardboard to the project premises on Mondays.
The recyclables are then weighed and a number of points or “mulas” are awarded to the children accordingly.
The “mulas” can then be exchanged in the swop shop for items such as basic food, school clothes, books, stationery and toiletries.