18 March 2021

Recycling is not just a plastic problem

Submitted by Veronica Holliday

Now, more than ever, the world is in desperate need of recycling heroes. The only way to save our planet is a collective and sincere commitment to a renewed way of consuming and producing products as well as cleaner, more sustainable cities.  With this in mind, and as part of our global organisational purpose, Veolia Services Southern Africa is set to cement itself as a climate changemaker and ecological transformer.

This Global Recycling Day, we reaffirm our pledge and our continued commitment toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. So, what exactly does this kind of commitment mean? Veolia aims to deliver a multifaceted performance through our environmental services business, placing equal importance on economical, financial, commercial, social, societal and environmental performance. Like the flame and the shadow, one cannot exist without the other. As an organization, we aim to be useful. Thus, we offer value to our customers that not only benefits their business but is good for the environment as well. Natural resources are not infinite and at some point, as a result of the way we have consumed them, they will be permanently depleted. Recycling, reusing and reducing waste is therefore essential if we are to preserve our natural resources for future generations.

Through various types of recycling initiatives, Veolia has a direct impact on 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and this is illustrated through projects across Southern Africa:

  • The Baobab in Durban KwaZulu-Natal, in collaboration with The MakersSpace Foundation and the Veolia Foundation
  • Dolphin Coast Landfill Management, Operated by Veolia
  • Durban Water Recycling, in collaboration with eThekwini Municipality
  • Wingoc in Namibia, Operated by Veolia 

A dedicated third place, The Baobab in Durban aims to provide like-minded individuals, with ways and means to reduce and reuse waste as well as create ‘green’ jobs. It relies on the 5R’s of Zero Waste -Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair to promote and minimise waste production. Educational programming and skills workshops such as the Plasticpreneur studio is one of the ways in which individuals are encouraged to become economically active as they are taught about recycling practices and shown how to operate machinery for small-scale production of upcycled items. Through this and a number of other initiatives which encourage sustainable living, The Baobab Durban also aims to promote social equity by encouraging economic participation for all. Learn more here

Dolphin Coast Landfill Management (DCLM) Operated by Veolia, is an excellent example of the value of reliable Waste Management Services in Southern Africa.  DCLM owns and operates the largest and best-in-class hazardous waste facility in the country, welcoming waste from all sectors of industry, including industrial, commercial and residential waste generators.  Strategically located in close proximity to the Port of Richards Bay and the industrial  zone of Durban, two of the country’s key centres for waste production, DCLM is a perfectly placed "caretaker for the Environment", offering responsible, environmentally sound Waste Management and Waste Transport Solutions to its Customers.  DCLM is a B-BBEE Level 1 Operator, with ISO 14001:2015, OHSAS 18001:2007 and SANAS 17025:2005 certification.  The protection and conservation of the Environment is at the very top of their list of priorities. With a dedicated and specialist team of Environmental Consultants on hand to assist with finding suitable alternatives to Landfill in a bid to reduce, reuse or recycle qualifying waste materials, DCLM's Customers may rest easy, knowing that landfilling is always the last resort.  

The use of wastewater technologies, a project of more than twenty years in the making, makes the Durban Water Recycling (DWR) plant an environmentally-friendly and proudly Veolia initiative. As a water-stressed country, South African industry giants and municipalities are duty-bound to incorporate solutions aimed at preserving water resources. The treatment of domestic and industrial waste water to a near potable standard for use by industrial consumers is both cost-saving and accelerating ecological transformation. Furthermore, this potable water is now redistributed to previously disadvantaged communities, those without access to clean water sources nearby. This project completes the circular economy by transforming wastewater into a reusable commodity. With increased poverty levels, and growing urbanization, recycling solutions are key to sustainable living. 

In Namibia, the severely water-stressed city of Windhoek was the first in the world to produce drinking water directly from municipal wastewater through the Water Reclamation Project known as Wingoc. This project, one that Veolia has proudly been associated with for 20 years, serves as a benchmark for future sustainable water resource management given the extensive research and latest available water treatment technologies. Sustainable Goal number 6 is the achievement of access to safe drinking water for all as well as improvement of water quality through increased recycling and safe reuse and the Wingoc project is directly aligned with these principles. Watch this video to learn more. 

These projects, among others, illustrate the greater Veolia purpose - usefulness, which is at the heart of our strategic vision. Adapting to environmental challenges is simply not enough. We believe that climate change, collapse of biodiversity, widespread pollution and resource depletion can be combated when implementing recycling technologies and a Zero Waste programme. A larger organisation may have the same impact as many smaller individuals, and together we can all be #RecyclingHeroes! 

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 179,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions which contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2019, the Veolia group supplied 98 million people with drinking water and 67 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 45 million megawatt hours of energy and treated 50 million metric tons of waste. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €27.189 billion in 2019 (USD 29.9 billion). www.veolia.com

Veolia Services Southern Africa

Veolia Services Southern Africa (Pty) Limited (“Veolia”) is the total water, waste and energy solutions company in Africa, offering turnkey value-propositions to the chemical, energy, food and beverage and other industries. With its head office, based in Johannesburg, Veolia also boasts a larger regional footprint in Durban and Paarl as well as international offices and operations in Botswana and Namibia. As part of the global Veolia Environment group, the Southern Africa region of Veolia is poised to draw on the group’s success and expertise as well as their extensive research and development capabilities.

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