A-plastic-recycling-bin-f-001Recycling of Glass/tins

As we were already busy with one form of recycling we took the opportunity to expand with our recycling activities.

We also recycle between 20 and 30 ton of glass and tins every month. Our glass and tin recycling not only generate some ongoing smaller income to the very poor of our community but also keep our dumping site cleaner. This project became quite a tourist attraction and many people stop to browse around our recycling activities. This division has been sponsored by Cennergi Windfarm since February 2016 and we trust they will also adopt and continue with this division.

Recycling of Plastic Bottles

Take a two-litre plastic drinks bottle, a heap of plastic bags, crisp packets and other non-biodegradable waste (roughly one week’s worth of plastic waste), and a stick. Pack the bottle full of the waste materials, packing it as tightly as you can, using the stick. That’s it. You have an Eco-brick. The story of EcoBricks started in Guatemala where Susanna Heisse, horrified at the level of plastic waste around Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, first came up with the EcoBrick idea. She built a wall out of them, which became an inspiration to others around the world.

The Thembani Project is aspiring to clean up our lovely town (and hopefully also most plastics & non-biodegradable waste lying around by paying R1 for every 2 litre filled Ecobrick. These ‘bricks’ will again be used in a variety of greening projects where we will build garden boxes, path ways etc. Examples of non-biodegradable waste- plastic bags/wrapping/sweets papers/chips bags/Styrofoam /tinfoil etc…

So next time you hold a plastic bottle in your hand, try thinking of it not as rubbish to be disposed of, but as the building block for something extraordinary.


Making compost from sawdust

Another waste management aspect is the making of compost from all the sawdust we get from Bedford Eagle Hout manufacturers. This is for organic vegetable gardening and our township garden route. We try to increase our leverage creating a unique tourism attraction that benefit not only our workers but the bigger Bedford community.

We were granted a Waste Management License for our premises in terms of the National Environmental Waste Act2009 (Act 59 of 2008) by the Eastern Cape Dept of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

Greening, organic gardening and our Bedford Township Garden Route

Bedford is already renowned for its yearly October Bedford garden Festival, its stunning mountain and climate and a lot of old Settler nostalgia We get thousands of visitors over that weekend. It’s one of the Eastern Cape’s most popular rural lifestyle experiences. There’s a fabulous range of gardens to visit – and a lot of other activities over that weekend- however –no activities in our township. We realised this big need for a unique ecotourism project in this region. We started with a small township garden route to compliment the bigger Bedford Garden Festival in October every year –beginning with 8 gardeners and expanding to 38 in 2016.

We are becoming a ‘must visit’ for the tourists. The town is beautiful against the backdrop of the Kouga mountains and our township gardeners are such amazing people.

Mentoring and Skills Training

The Thembani Project also create additional handcraft activities combined with in service skills training and mentoring of younger workers. Some of these workers are then placed/employed by Bedford Eagle Hout Manufacturers ( a Workers Co-operative) on the same premises- under an experienced artisan for further mentoring. The bigger aim here is to establish Bedford firmly as a Woodwork Artisans Town. There are fewer and fewer companies that appreciates the importance of teaching the next generation artisans skills that can only be learned/acquired through working closely under the mentorship of an experienced artisan that is willing to share his expertise. We also have a variety of smaller in service training programmes in place.

Social outreach :Thembani SDCC(NPO 066/800)

Thembani Special Day Care Centre for children with disabilities has been under our auspices since 2009.The centre is run by the very caring founder of the centre, Mrs Louisa Nxele.
We managed to get the Cookhouse Windfarm to sponsor the monthly operating costs since May 2015 until end June 2016, and we are hoping that they will continue and adopt this much needed service in the future as well.

Awards Won

a Jet Community Award for Waste Management in 2009
an Impumelelo Silver Award for creating sustainable work in 2010