Going beyond the Sustainable Development Goals in recycling

We are living the dream – it is a bad dream but we are living it. So much is talked about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and so little is done about it in South Africa. We are ranked 113 out of 162 countries. Smart Waste is just quietly getting on with it, through recycling.

Our industry – waste management and recycling – directly addresses a number of SDG’s Specifically: SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation which includes a clean environment. SDG 8  promotes: “sustained and inclusive sustainable economic growth and productive employment and decent work for all”.

Apart from providing an industry beating service level – Smart Waste actively assists in implementing these goals. We employ mainly women from historically disadvantaged backgrounds – in total more than 450 staff members. If we use a conservative figure of 5 dependents per employee we are supporting 2 250 people.

Recycling goes beyond the services, Smart Waste directly contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We choose women because they are more dexterous which suits the manual sorting of recyclables. They are also generally more stable than men. It is a sad fact that most of our staff are single mothers who do not receive financial assistance from the father of their children.

Smart Waste’s business model is labour intensive, an African solution to waste management. There are more efficient ways of sorting recyclables but in a country with our unemployment and poverty it would be irresponsible for us to use machines. Which is not to say we don’t have issues, we are dealing with people.

Our staff are trained in their mother tongue and learn some skills while with us. Those who show an aptitude are promoted and we have managers who started as sorters. Our records reflect a generally stable work force with minimum HR complaints. This is largely attributable to well-developed policies which are applied consistently by our managers.

We build our staff internally first, to build South Africa through recycling

The work that Smart Waste does helps clean up the environment by removing waste and the plastic bags and bottles which are everywhere. We recycle these products which aligns with the circular economy. Examples of the work we do can be found throughout Recycle Review.

Corporations with monies to invest as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programs can use Smart Waste to further their goals. We produce reports based on hard data on the waste and recycling which we remove for the client. We also provide independent certificates of safe disposal or destruction. The client can use this data for auditing purposes.

Investing CSI spend in recycling and use the savings as a direct balance sheet investment

If required, Smart Waste can undertake specific projects to support a clients investment in CSR. These are customized to each clients needs. Smart Waste can implement programs which a client, with no experience of working with the informal sector or working in townships, cannot. We have the skills and staff who do this daily. Over time we have learned to be effective whilst retaining a level of empathy.

Whilst the reason for using our services is not primarily to support SDG’s isn’t it nice to know that there are real, hidden benefits?

Recycle Reg
Smart Waste

Picture: Pixabay