Coca-cola Beverages South Africa(CCBSA) is committed to supporting recycling initiatives in South African schools. The Schools Recycling Programme(SRP) was established by CCBSA 8 years ago, to create a generation of South Africans who would be committed to ensuring that discarded waste does not end up as litter or in a landfill. The programme focuses on educating children about recycling so that they can pay it forward in their communities.
SRP is created as a competition, where participating schools are challenged to keep their surrounding environment clean through waste collection and recycling. In order to drive and incentivize this positive recycling behaviour, CCBSA launched the Schools Recycling Awards to add a fun competitive element to the initiative while giving learners an opportunity to be innovative with waste.
The Schools Recycling Awards were presented at the University of Johannesburg on the 3rd of December. Motshidisi Mokwena, Acting Public Affairs & Communications Director from CCBSA noted that the awards ceremony was deliberately hosted at a university to encourage the young people who were in the auditorium to be encouraged to study so that they can move onto to tertiary level.
Over 860 schools and 700 000 learners and teachers have participated in the Schools Recycling Programme this year, showing excellent growth from just 40 schools in 2011. “CCBSA was approached by the government to add 25 000 more schools into the SRP,” said Managing Director of CCBSA, Velaphi Ratshefola. He notes that the Schools Recycling Awards are an important event in the CCBSA calendar because it’s the organization’s responsibility to educate and train children about recycling and innovation. The programme has resulted in more than 80 young people being employed as Recycling Representatives and 36 collectors being trained and supported.
Highlights of the awards included a Keynote Address which was delivered by Makhatso Magdeline Sotyu, Deputy Minister of Department of Environmental, Forestry & Fisheries. The Department of Environmental, Forestry & Fisheries & CCBSA target disadvantaged schools because they believe that schools are the best platforms to administer behaviour and enhance healthy environment habits.
The Minister emphasized that when it comes to children, everything starts at home. “We need to teach them about recycling whilst they are still you because it becomes difficult to teach to them when they are adults”. Sotyua highlighted that recycling is an important initiative which is necessary because it saves the planet and emphasized that the Government needs to work hand-in-hand with the private sector to ensure the conservation of the environment.
The awards were presented to the recipients by government & private sector officials, CCBSA staff members and Lungo Katete, Miss EARTH 2019. Schools needed to collect a minimum of 1000kg PET and most of the participating schools won awards and certificates for their efforts but Esiqingweni Primary School located in Kwa Zulu Natal won the Primary Level grand prize of R50 000 and Mbilwi High School located in Limpopo, won the High School level award. The prize money will go towards fixing the infrastructure of the schools. The Programme Director for the event was TV Actress, Zenande Mfenyana added that “It’s a simple act of the individual that can change the world”