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SWOP SHOP UPDATE QUARTER 1

In South Africa, waste management has evolved over the past quarter of a century. Since early 2000, local communities have seen initiatives to improve the quality of waste-management. The Domino Foundation’s Recycle Swop Shop is one such initiative where recycling and drop-off centres have been established to bring an economic incentive to communities who learn the value of recycling. An added aspect of these programmes is environmental upgrade and preservation which inevitably accompanies its outworking.

The Swop Shop collection and shop days happen weekly during the school term, as the Swop Shops are situated at primary schools in Dunoon and Phillipi in Cape Town where the programme operates. Phillipi’s recycling collection is managed by the school teachers rather than by the Swop Shop team This is another aspect of the programme’s empowering the local community to take ownership of the activity which impacts an ever-widening spectrum of the community. Recyclable materials are stored in a container onsite at the school and, when the container is full, the school notifies the programme leaders to send the recycling company with which Swop Shop works to make a collection. The Phillipi Shop has seen a falling-off of the recyclables being brought in over the past few months and hence the drop in the number of tokens been handed out. The reasons for this and how to motivate the community to embrace more whole-heartedly will need to be investigated and addressed so that the considerable positive impact the programme has seen in the past can be reached again and then maintained.

Each Wednesday of the school term, members of the community in Dunoon township come laden with recyclable material to The Domino Foundation’s Swop Shop at Enkwenkwezi School. The material is sorted and weighed and paid for in coupons and so becomes a means of exchange for basic necessities. As an empowerment initiative, this gives the community the opportunity to help themselves and break the mentality of hopelessness. The last Wednesday of the first term saw a veritable mountain of plastic bottles brought in which will now not be going into the City’s landfill. As a by-product of the Recycle Swop Shop programme, the aim is to instil an understanding of recycling and its importance in caring for the environment. In the process of giving the community the ability productively to “earn” so that basic toiletries and foodstuffs and other essentials can be “purchased” in exchange for the coupons, the vision is to beautify the Dunoon area (and the areas where the other Swop Shops operate in Cape Town), reduce the chance of disease, provide safe areas for play and inspire a sense of pride in the community. The ladies of Dunoon are grasping this vision of becoming effective environment changers. Leader of the Recycle Swop Shop programme, Riaan van der Westhuizen, said that he is amazed at the quantities of recyclables which the community members bring in: “This past year we were inundated with 1203 kgs of plastic which we sold on to a recycling company.  With the proceeds we are able to stock our Swop Shops.” The latest national recycling figures for plastics show that South Africans are recycling more plastics than before, which paints a brighter environmental picture. Each year, South Africans throw out well over a million tons of recyclable plastic. The pressure is on…the Western Cape may be soon facing a crisis with many landfills rapidly filling. In some areas, landfills could have reached their capacity in less than a year. The good news is that, of that, a good 40% finds its way into recycling. The Dunoon community, in hauling their blue plastic bags bulging with recyclables to the Recycle Swop Shop each week, is playing a vital part in this bid to save our environment.

As a fund-raiser and as an awareness initiative, The Domino Foundation had a team of riders complete the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour in March. The enthusiastic pedallers completed the gruelling but spectacular race around the peninsular sporting the cycling kit with the new corporate look.

The community at ‘Life Changers Church’ in Tableview and Milnerton regularly shows its generosity through donations of clothing to the Swop Shop programme. Fund-raising for the programme is an area which constantly needs to be revisited with regards to its tactics and targets. Life Changers Church has planned a Clothing Drive to run through the winter months so that the Swop Shops have an adequate supply of warm wear for the chilly weather. If you would like to contribute, please contact Sammy on adminct@domino.org.za or 021 557 7704.

The Recycle Swop Shop team was delighted to welcome Sammy Hart to assist with the programme’s administration from her base at the offices at Life Changers in Tableview. Riaan van der Westhuizen, leader of the Swop Shop programme said, ”Sammy’s coming on board will lighten the bureaucratic load  and will ensure a greatly strengthened link between the programme and the bigger Domino Foundation family and its other six programmes.”