Recycling is not only a way to maintain a clean environment, it also contributes to the Namibian economy and spurs Green business enterprises.
Lazarus Nafidi, Head of Communications at the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF), said recycling has the potential to make a massive contribution to the Namibian economy through employment-creation.
“Recycling also has the potential to catalyse the development of Green business enterprises which add value to recycled materials, thereby kick-starting a realistic and sustainable industrialization process for Namibia,” he added.
According to Nafidi, Gys Louw and his Rent-a-Drum operations on the outskirts of Windhoek alone employs close to 200 people, and they are not even operating at 60% of their full capacity yet.
Recycling is thus a method which contributes to the factors which can help in relieving the poverty faced by Namibians.
“These new types of industries could be a source of decent jobs and wealth-creation in Namibia, and contribute towards alleviating the impacts of poverty, which weigh heavily on the government’s resources,” he explained.
The fact that recycling is heavily incentive-based shows that households and companies stand a chance to benefit from rebates or a reduction of their overhead costs from good practices. So, in a nut-shell, the economy wins and so does the environment, Nafidi said.
Although recycling is not a being practiced highly in Namibia, recycled materials are exported to South Africa, where they are reproduced into something else.
“At the moment, there is little recycling done in the country, but the volumes of recyclables which find themselves in our landfills is an indicator of the potential of the recycling industry.
Currently, there is minimal value-addition on recycled materials in Namibia. We merely collect the waste here and package it (in the case of paper, glass and tyres), and then send it to recycling companies in South Africa, where they are processed into new items,” he stated.
Recyclable materials are mostly papers, plastics, cans and glass.
Electric and electronic products such as computer equipment, television sets, mobile phones and inkjet cartridges can also be disassembled and recycled.
Some of the things which are not recyclable comprise mirrors or window glass, cling wrap or Styrofoam, organic matter (food, garden refuse), chemicals, paints, liquids of any kind, or highly inflammable materials.
“Some of the value-addition includes waste wood recycling for manufacturing furniture, which has been successfully started in Swakopmund,” Nafidi added.
Rent-A-Drum maintains comprehensive waste management contracts with Government institutions, industrial and commercial enterprises as well as mines. Rent-A-Drum also delivers this service to the citizens of Windhoek.
According to the Recycle Namibia Forum, Namibia, with its 2.1m citizens, produces 3 000 tons of waste daily.
The Recycle Namibia Forum operates within the ambits of its constitution, drafted in 2010.
The purpose of the Recycle Namibia Forum is to be a non-political and non-profit-making organization, with the purpose to promote the 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) through projects and networking with all relevant stakeholders.