In celebration of World Environment Day, a day that encourages citizen-action to improve our environment, Woolworths has announced a partnership aimed at increasing recycling rates in South Africa. The new initiative is a trial that will upgrade two existing WILDLANDS recycling villages and open three additional recycling villages in popular KwaZulu-Natal shopping centres where there are Woolworths’ stores. WILDLANDS recycling villages, which are at the forefront of recycling and the recycling circular economy in South Africa, are part of a well-established WILDTRUST programme. Other partners include Dow, Nedbank and YES (Youth Employment Service).
Feroz Koor, Woolworths Holdings Group Head of Sustainability, says, “Last year on World Environment Day, we announced our ambitious ZERO packaging waste to landfill commitments. While we are working to phase out single-use plastics and make all our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2022, we also want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to efficiently recycle. Their support of very accessible, well-run WILDLANDS recycling villages is not just good for the environment but the village concept also supports viable youth employment while connecting local schools and community-based waste-preneurs.”
The Woolworths’ sponsorship includes upgrades to existing WILDLANDS recycling villages at the Hayfields Mall in Pietermaritzburg and The Quarry Centre in Hilton, and will start with the establishment of a new recycling village at Watercrest Mall in Waterfall, Durban, with two more to follow. The investment covers not just upgrades to infrastructure but vital public messaging to raise awareness of what substrates are recyclable.
Andrew Venter Chief Executive Officer of the WILDTRUST says, “It is a privilege for WILDLANDS to be partnering with Woolworths on their ZERO waste to landfill journey. Our vision of a sustainable future for all is well-aligned to Woolworths’ strategy, ensuring that customers are offered more convenient options for preventing their waste from going to landfill. With Woolworths ability to reach a large number of consumers with quality products and credible messaging, and our recycling expertise, our hope is that together we will encourage more South Africans to see that there is an alternative for their waste. If we work alongside each other we can start to prevent the devastating impact that we now see along our coastlines and in all other ecosystems.”