What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Barrier: Lack of market acceptance
Previous recycling initiatives in Imizamo Yethu (IY) have failed because there were issues around the lack of distribution of earnings from the recyclables, thus there was insufficient motivation for community members to become actively involved in recycling. We believe that our initiative will overcome this barrier as the Cambio Verde program did in Curitiba, Brazil. We already have members of the community who are passionate about the project and will act as champions, encouraging the community to become and remain involved.
Barrier: Lack of sponsorship
We believe that our project has potential to create positive change in informal settlements, to such a degree that Uphinda Phindo! is an attractive project for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Our team will ensure that there is sufficient investment to secure the prizes that the project requires.
There are currently no other incentivized recycling initiatives in Cape Town nor are there any initiatives planned by government for the near future. We would be first to market and hence aim to capture the majority of the market (individuals in informal settlements) from outset. If however, competitors should arise, we will suggest collaborative effort. We will always ensure that the best service delivery is offered to the community members.
Barrier: Failure of recycling station
The HBR co-op is currently being supported by individuals from the more affluent areas of Hout Bay. Although they produce more recyclable waste per household, the IY area generates a substantial amount of waste, which is estimated to equal the total amount of waste currently brought by affluent individuals. The recycling station will therefore greatly benefit if the Uphinda Phindo! project is successful, but it does not rely on this success in order to continue running.
Tell us about your partnerships
We are working with Green Living, a nonprofit organisation which promotes awareness of local and global environmental issues, sustainability, self sufficiency and conservation of resources. They work on projects in four areas of sustainability: Recycling and Waste Reduction, Local Food Growth, Energy Efficiency, and Water Conservation. They have already been very active in the community of Hout Bay for a number of years.
Hout Bay Recycling (HBR) is a cooperative drop off station which has also been operating for a number of year. It currently services some of the more affluent homes in the Hout Bay area. Situated on the fringe of the Imizamo Yethu (IY) informal settlement, HBR is conveniently located next to the main entrance to the settlement. However, despite its location, little recycling comes from the IY community. HBR has all the necessary infrastructure and staff for the collection and sorting of recyclables. The partnership not only provides a platform for our pilot project, but through TrashBack Uphinda Phindo! the members of the IY community are incentivised to bring in more recyclables. This results in higher earnings for the members of the HBR co-op.
In the near future we plan to enter partnership/collaboration with the Food Bank and Clothing Bank of South Africa. These organisations distribute excess food and clothing to those in need, such as individuals living in informal settlements. Working with such organisations will provide stable access to prizes for TrashBack Uphinda Phindo!, and will also serve as a good outlet for the organisations since the goods are not merely handed out for free, but exchanged for a service which will clean up disadvantaged communities.
Explain your selections
The Trashback Uphinda Phindo! project is a non-profit endeavour and will acquire support from external sources such as businesses and its primary NGO partner, Greenliving.
Greenliving has committed to supply various items essential to the launch of the Uphinda Phindo! pilot. Such items include a computer to record entries, scales to weigh recyclables collected and signage to advertise the project.
Several local businesses in the local Hout Bay area have also been approached for continued sponsorship of prize items such as non-perishable food items, clothing and vouchers exchangeable for food or goods.
Other local, regional and nationally operating business have been approached for sponsorship of the marketing and promotional activities for the project launch, as well as smaller mechanisms of support for the continued operation of the project.
What makes our sponsorship model different and easier for businesses to swallow is that we are asking for support in terms of goods or services already offered by these companies, either at the current price or at a discount. For example, we are asking food and clothing retailers for food and clothing, and a monthly sms allowance from an Internet based bulk sms provider etc. We provide advertising and exposure for those businesses who support our community based social enterprise, and not only will partner businesses be strengthening their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) portfolio’s, but they will also be assisting us achieve our goals of cleaning, greening and uplifting local communities in need.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
Firstly, we aim to refine our existing model so we have a functional working blueprint which can be applied in other areas of Cape Town, the Western Cape, South Africa and Africa. We aim to do this by ironing out any sticking point that arise during the Uphinda Phindo! pilot by adapting to the needs and concerns of all the parties involved, including community members, employees, partners and sponsors. Part of this will entail continuous monitoring and progress/success mechanisms, that will allow us to constantly upgrade and improve the system and implement new practices or processes as the project evolves. We will also encourage and manage criticism and feedback, and do our best to integrate these suggestions into our operations. Apart from this, a continual effort will be made to acquire new sponsorship or renew existing sponsorship agreements. Once we are satisfied with the model and are certain that it is robust and flexible, we will expand the project to other areas. We hope to do this as a joint venture with our existing sponsors and partners. Coupled with this expansion is the introduction of an upcycling initiative. This will provide a platform for local community members to create art and functional objects from the non-recyclable materials, which will subsequently be sold. Not only will this divert additional waste from landfills and create more employment, but more importantly, the whole community will benefit as the added production value of the products will be recycled back into the community and used for further project development and expansion.