Date: 06 JUNE 2017
“2016 has been an exceptionally busy and fruitful year for the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF)”, says coordinator Anita Witt. One of the RNF’s most celebrated results is the increase in membership, as emphasized by Witt at the 2016 overview recently. Witt: “It is satisfying to see the continued growth in membership – which results in more networking opportunities, and contributes immensely to a greater platform for the RNF to function effectively in its purpose.”
RNF membership increased from ten (10) full members and two (2) associate members in 2014 to eighteen (18) full members and nine (9) associate members in 2016. The latest count which includes additions for 2017 so far, adds up to eighteen (18) full members and eleven (11) associate members. Witt emphasized that the inclusion of the micro category, as well as now offering individual membership, has enabled especially the smaller entrepreneur the opportunity to join the RNF.
INITIATIVES FOR FURTHER IMPACT
According to chairperson of the RNF, Gloudi de Beer, one of the most important projects with which the RNF is currently involved in, is being driven by the dedicated Beverage Container Working Group. De Beer: “This group has representatives from various organizations involved with the manufacturing and use of beverage containers and our main focus is to identify alternatives to the proposed levy on various beverage containers, without losing sight of the need to reduce environmental litter. Taking into consideration the current economic environment, consumers and businesses will not be able to stomach additional costs and the introduction of a container levy in line with the proposed figures will cripple the Namibian manufacturing industry due to the fact that people would not be able to afford locally produced products anymore. The Working Group has recently employed IJG to conduct a feasibility and opportunity study with regards to the possible self-regulation of the industry, with the funds raised by self-imposed taxes being utilized to enhance waste management throughout Namibia.”
SCHOOLS RECYCLING COMPETITION
The RNF further celebrates significant increase in participants to the annual Schools Recycling Competition, with a current total of at least fifty (50) schools. Witt: “The interest of schools to participate and of course the performance of the participating schools has been overwhelming and very inspiring. The Schools Recycling Competition has grown to become one of the most encouraging tools for recycling in the country.”
During 2016, the RNF supported eight (8) clean-up operations in the country which include the annual Fish River Canyon; the annual Ondangwa; Ohangwena; Oshikukuandi; Hospitality Association of Namibia; Coastal and 2 x Henties Bay cleanup campaigns. De Beer: “Involvement in the cleanups ensure that we can educate and motivate the separation of the waste collected to source the recyclables. To supplement this initiative, we are now in the process of drafting a Clean Up Methodology Booklet, which will assist organizers to plan and host successful, sustainable clean ups. This is of value as there is currently no waste management act in place in Namibia, and many of the smaller town councils face a huge challenge in getting rid of the waste (dump sites not being fenced in, etc.) and no transport/storage in place for recyclables.”
WINDHOEK RECYCLE DAY
Another highlight for the RNF in 2016 was the introduction of Windhoek Recycle Day launched in October last year. Witt: “Our first Windhoek Recycle Day gave the opportunity to Windhoek residents to dispose of all types of recyclables at one spot, ranging from the usual plastic, glass, cans and paper to e–waste, as well as facilitating (courtesy of City of Windhoek) the safe disposal of household batteries and fluorescent bulbs. More such events are planned for the coming year as it is a good opportunity to create awareness for the 3R’s and affording the opportunity to dispose of hazardous items (such as batteries and light bulbs) in a safe manner.”
WATER SAVINGS CAMPAIGN
The RNF, in conjunction with the City of Windhoek and the Rent-a-Win online competition line, hosted an awareness campaign, where residents were invited to share their water savings hints and tips. The first prize was won by Gys Burger (Pick n Pay vouchers to the value of N$1000) with the youngster Karin Loftie-Eaton in second place (N$500 cash). This competition created considerable interest to highlight the importance of REDUCING water consumption.
BAG TO NATURE CAMPAIGN
The Bag to Nature campaign, initiated at the end of 2015, to encourage shoppers to opt for a reusable shopping bag, showed pleasing results during the period under review. With N$1 of each bag sold being donated to the RNF, it is pleased with the result of more than 35,000 bags sold countrywide during 2016 – an income which assists in making the RNF sustainable. The agreement between Pick n Pay (PnP) Namibia and the RNF will continue on the same basis for 2017.
Witt furthermore stressed that with the formulation of a marketing sub-committee, it is envisaged that more projects / initiatives can be under taken. This is to include:
• Another Windhoek Recycle Day (in a central location),
• Setting up of pop-up shops and similar – such as “recycling collection points” (reward for handing in of recyclables)
• Joint ventures with organizations, especially environmental ones to initiate sustainable projects (glass crushing in Divundu under discussion currently)
• Hosting a waste management course (IWMSA) in Namibia – which will be relevant to not only those working in the field, but the general public as well –“Impact of Human Behavior on the Environment”.
• Bringing accurate information on current “emotive” causes such as the banning of plastic bags and bottles currently in the news.
Witt: “We are also in the process of compiling a Green Directory for Namibia, which will enable residents to find the closest recycler or service provider in their region. This should be ready and on our website by mid-2017.”
Exciting developments are in the pipeline for the remainder of 2017, which will include the launching of collection points for the safe disposal of household batteries, which will be done in conjunction with RNF Members: Pick n Pay, VARTA Namibia and the City of Windhoek. It is envisaged to expand this to include the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Also, a larger scale Windhoek Recycle Day will form part of the RNF Week, which is scheduled for 18 to 22 September and which promises to include numerous activities highlighting the importance of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Issued by: Francios Olivier on behalf of the Recycle Namibia Forum
Group Journalist & Creative Writer
Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group
c/o Fidel Castro and Independence Avenue
Tel: 061-2075207 – Fax: 061-255599