City’s support for Green Economy yields positive results

New Earth Recycling in Parow

Award-winning waste management company does excellent work in protecting environment, by collecting and diverting polystyrene from landfills and processing it into new practical products. 

On Friday, I visited New Earth Recycling in Parow, one of the companies that is a member of the award-winning Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP) being funded by the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department and is being managed by GreenCape.
The company was started in 2013 as a means to employ homeless people. Today, the company has created employment opportunities for 15 permanent staff members and three additional seasonal workers on a casual basis.
New Earth Recycling, collects recyclables from households and companies and processes these products into clothing hangers, picture frames, curtain rails, bean bag fillings, light-weight concrete bricks, insulated panels, and seedling fertilizer mix, among others.
The company processes around 40 tons of waste per month and the value of end-user products produced from 40 tons of polystyrene is in the region of R3 million per month.
The company is accredited with the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Department.
WISP facilitators provide businesses with technical expertise by connecting them with unused or residual resources such as materials, energy, water, assets and logistics. Not only does the initiative help to address the problem of waste, but more importantly it supports job creation.
Through the sharing of resources, businesses are able to contribute to the growth of the economy, cut costs and increase profit, improve their business processes, create new revenue streams and operate more sustainably. 
To date, all companies who are members of WISP have collectively diverted over 67 000 tonnes of waste, which has generated economic benefit equivalent to  R69, million in Cape Town’s green economy. 
The work of the WISP members has also resulted in estimated greenhouse gas savings of 152 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) which equates to the electricity use of 41 038 South African households.
This is a worthwhile investment for the City, for every R1.00 invested in WISP, R7.00 has been returned to companies based in Cape Town as direct financial benefits.
The work done through WISP is impressive and helps to reduce our impact on the environment.
Cape Town aims to lead the way in innovation and as a major metropolitan city we must think carefully about how we dispose of our waste and ways in which we can reuse materials. 
Our landfills have a limited capacity and recycling and repurposing waste is an innovative way at addressing this challenge.
The idea of recycling aligns closely with the Mayor’s clean-up campaign which started last month. As we continue to drive the idea of recycling and clean communities, I will be visiting various other entities who doing their part and putting waste to use. The clean-up campaign encourages people to take pride in their communities and to play their part too. We want to stop illegal dumping and keep our open spaces clean and safe for our children to use to play and for families to spend time together. 
‘It is heartening to see such small businesses playing such a pivotal role in waste minimisation. The City currently manages three landfill sites and provides 27 waste drop-off sites, which the public can use for free to drop off recyclable materials, most types of green waste, construction rubble generated at the household level as well as garage waste. Recyclable and re-usable materials from the drop-off sites are recovered by contracted entrepreneurs. We encourage potential entrepreneurs to come up with similar innovative business ideas to turn waste into other reusable products, and in the process generating wealth for themselves, while creating work opportunities for other individuals,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.
‘There are thousands of tons of polystyrene waste that are still going to landfills per month. To divert more waste we need more space, vehicles and machines in order to expand the operations and unlock the potential. We would work with local material recovery facilities receiving more and more household waste through the City’s residential recycling initiatives to assist them in diverting this waste from landfills. Our expansion plans will divert an additional 250 tons of polystyrene per month.  This will create at least 50 new job opportunities directly and 150 jobs indirectly in the short to medium term,’ said New Earth Group CEO, Noel Ehrenreich.
Commenting on the benefits of the City-funded WISP initiative, Ehrenreich added, ‘Our ability to survive the many challenges that comes our way has been made possible by organisations like Green Cape and WISP. We welcome and value the interest shown in our facility by the City and specifically Alderman James Vos, as what we do very often goes unrecognized. We do what we do because we care about our city and the environment and constantly look for opportunities to partner with like-minded organisations to create new jobs and the ancillary benefits to the local economy. We want to leave this world and our city in particular in a better state than what we found it in.’ 
Oliver Bonstein, WISP facilitator at GreenCape said, ‘Since November 2015, WISP has facilitated seven successful business synergies for New Earth to sources of polystyrene. The synergies have cumulatively reduced waste to landfill by 1 278 tonnes and reduced fossil greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (equivalent to the electricity usage of 94 average South African households, for a year). WISP is proud to work with such a passionate and driven company that is making a positive difference to the local environment and job market.’