Collaboration for socio-economic Development

Online since 15.09.2015 • Filed under Industry news • From Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016 page(s) 64
Collaboration for socio-economic Development

REDISA’s successful implementation of a circular economy is an example of what’s possible when the public and private sectors collaborate.

According to Stacey Davidson, director at REDISA (Recycling and Economic Initiative of South Africa), the circular economy, where we use the same commodity over and over again, is the only way to ensure responsible consumption of resources. ‘Job creation and small business development are a major part of our business plan, and our five-year target is to create 10 000 jobs and 200 business entities that collect, store and recycle waste tyres. One of the ways we can fast-track this process is by creating circular economies,’ Davidson explains.

‘The reality is that most businesses do not consider the waste that comes from their products or operations as their problem, and few factor the cost of recovering and recycling this waste into their cost of manufacturing, which is in turn costing the environment dearly,’ she adds. ‘We firmly believe that looking at the use of  consumer products further than the end of their accepted lifecycle and reintroducing them back into the economy will go a long way towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for new product development. In South Africa, we have millions of waste tyres lying in dumps and stockpiles, or scattered across the country in residential, industrial and rural areas. Almost 10-million waste tyres are added to this number every year.’

Tyres are designed to be tough and nearly indestructible, which is good when they are in use but a problem when they reach the end of their working life. While some waste tyres make their way to recycling facilities via formal and informal networks of collectors, many are burned for their scrap metal content, releasing toxic fumes and liquids in the process. The REDISA Plan was developed to address the waste tyre problem in a manner that stimulates job creation and entrepreneurial development. As REDISA gains momentum, used tyres will grow in value.

Looking at waste differently

The gradual increase of waste generated in South Africa is leading to an increasingly polluted environment in which South Africans, particularly those in the informal sector, are forced to live. ‘This challenge has left the country with no other option other than to seek measures to divert waste away from landfills to other waste management options such as the reuse, recycling and recovery of products, as well as energy generation,’ Davidson maintains. For example in the tyre industry, it means reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. In other words, what used to be regarded as ‘waste’ can be turned into a resource and reintroduced into the economy. ‘At this stage, the tyre industry is the only industry in South Africa where waste is being dealt with in an integrated, coordinated way. What’s more, the REDISA system is the only one in the world that has 99.9% industry compliance with one waste management plan (99.9% of tyre  manufacturers and importers are registered with REDISA and pay R2.30/kg to outsource their tyre recovery and recycling liability to us),’ Davidson claims. ‘By involving all stakeholders, government and private sector, the REDISA tyre industry circular economy model is working: tyre manufacturers and importers are taking responsibility for their waste without losing sight of focusing on their core business; unemployed people are finding gainful employment, SMMEs are being developed and supported by the REDISA Plan, and the environmental disaster that waste tyres represent is being economically and effectively addressed.’ Without legislation by the Department of Environmental Affairs implementing the REDISA Plan would never have been possible, and the success would never have  happened. ‘While the circular economy is growing, it is happening at a slow pace. If the circular economy is to become more widespread, we must look at all industries to see how through innovation and cooperation we can double our efforts,’ says Davidson. ‘The results are evident. Through REDISA’s collaboration with government on the one hand, and tyre manufacturers and importers on the other, in two years we’ve helped to create over 2 500 new jobs and start 201 small businesses, simply by seeing used tyres differently.’ In the near future, REDISA is looking at rolling out the model used for tyres to alleviate the general waste problem in the country.



Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016

Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016

This article was featured on page 64 of SABI Magazine Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016 .

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