Re-introducing recycling to Grahamstown

Recycling is often the first step people take when becoming more environmentally-conscious. The Oppidan Press explored recycling in Grahamstown, including the efficacy of initiatives both at UCKAR and in Grahamstown at large and how recycling could be incorporated with the new ‘seven Rs’, creating a more effective approach to waste management.

Tanaka Chikomba, Community Engagement and Environmental Representative for Adelaide Tambo house, spoke to The Oppidan Press about recycling practices on campus. She explained that UCKAR uses the Makana two-bag system for recycling. Two bin bags separate non-recyclable waste (blue bag) from plastics, cardboard, tins and glass (clear bag). Students and staff deposit these at waste collection points on campus daily. the bags are then taken to the recycling depot.

Keeping with UCKAR’s policy of promoting environmental conservation, all residences are required to comply with this system, however, “The housekeeping staff are practically running the initiative” stated Chikomba.

Chelsea Lee, a student at UCKAR spearheading a recycling initiative in Grahamstown, said “We are a business called Green It with an aim of reducing Grahamstown’s carbon footprint,” she explained. The group will work in tandem with local businesses including The Rat and Parrot, Debonairs, Prime, as well as the community in order to encourage more people to practise efficient recycling.

Green It is focused on reducing the amount of electronic waste in Grahamstown. Lee explained that students at UCKAR as well as local schools, would have the chance to donate their old or unused electronics. Green It will transport these to a facility in Port Elizabeth – Propella – for disposal or reuse. “We aim to inspire a new generation of recyclers, as we feel recycling has always been a monotonous task,” Lee added.

These initiatives illustrate a move from conventional approaches to recycling to include more effective and expansive methods of waste reduction. While recycling helps alleviate the issue, the sheer volume of waste requires the minimisation of consumption.

The ‘three Rs’ of recycling have been expanded to seven: refuse, reduce, re-use, repair, re-purpose, re-gift, recover, and finally, recycle. These steps involve thinking before buying and before discarding. Remember, there is always an innovative idea around the corner, which could help you be a better eco-warrior!


Words by Rochelle Duvenage