By Lindsey Kin
Recycling just one glass bottle saves the same amount of energy required to keep a 100-watt light bulb powered up for an hour. This is one of the many facts I learned recently when I sat down with CEO of the Glass Recycling Company (TGRC), Shabeer Jhetam, and Kate Haupt, who handles the PR for the company, to touch base on the topic of going green. This week, I look at TGRC, and how this non-profit company aims to educate and encourage the youth to re-use and recycle through its informative campaigns.
TGRC was established following a memorandum of understanding signed in May 2005 between the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the glass manufacturers, fillers and glass recyclers. Since its inception in 2006, the non-profit company draws attention to ‘green issues’ and brings to light how glass recycling has a positive impact on the environment – with minimum effort required, by simply depositing alcoholic beverage and soft drink bottles, as well as jam jars, into a glass bank. “We have launched an SMS line that gives consumers direct access to glass bank lists at the touch of a button. Finding the location of the nearest glass bank in any given area is as simple as sending an SMS with the word, ‘glass’, and the name of the suburb to 32210,” said Jhetam.
“We are a not-for-profit organisation mandated with keeping glass alive by promoting the practice of recovering, recycling and re-using this increasingly popular packaging commodity. As a national organisation, we are primarily responsible for promoting and facilitating the recovery of waste glass for recycling,” highlights the company.
In its recent campaign with the Pick n Pay Schools Club, TGRC launched educational material encouraging learners to recycle glass. With the Pick n Pay Schools Club already a programme created to aid educators with important educational content for their classrooms, the partnership was a good match. The campaign aims to equip learners with the knowledge that ‘glass goes green’ – and in the long run, this will remain with them throughout their lives. Glass recycling information and posters, together with the Schools Club educational material, was sent to over 1 700 primary schools, reaching almost 1.7-million learners and 80 000 educators, explained Haupt.
Further to the success of the campaign, TGRC took to the beaches and shopping malls across South Africa during the 2010 December holidays. In partnership with Cartoon Network and the Boomerang Summer Carnival, the glass recycling company provided over 61 500 children with the opportunity to meet recycling hero and mascot, Vusa, and learn more about TGRC’s message of how important it is to recycle.
Another green education campaign, ‘Sibo makes a difference’, inspired by the South African Sibo Says
eco-books that TGRC has been involved in, is targeted at school children in grades four to six. Vusa, together with his side-kicks, Sibo, a funky young girl with dreadlocks, and Earthman, who has the earth’s preservation at the centre of his focus, encouraged children to recycle glass through their environmental messages that formed part of this campaign. Haupt explained that the overriding objective for this campaign was not only educate, but also to ignite excitement for eco-awareness in the hearts of this target audience, and encourage them to recover, re-use and recycle glass; taking the message home to motivate their extended families to get involved in the glass recycling drive. She added that the children were also educated on how their families could ‘get cash for glass’, enabling pupils to share this information with parents and older siblings, who in turn might benefit from these money-generating possibilities.
At the launch of the Generation Earth School Councils, recently held at Crawford College, Sandton, Kevin Nassiep, CEO of the South African National Energy Research Institute, commented: “… there is no second Earth and we have to make it work now. It’s going to be up to the generations coming now, such as the students… to rise to the challenge and take the lead. It starts with the smaller projects like recycling and saving energy at your school, and little by little, you can switch to more sustainable energy sources.”
It has always been said that manners begin at home… today, greening starts at school. More and more organisations are implementing educational initiatives and programmes into various schools across the country, to educate the youth so that they will pass on their greening messages and teach their parents. As a young adult, I know that my children in grade seven know more than I do about how to become more eco-friendly. Do I listen? Of course I do – our generation needs to learn from this ‘green’ generation. With this said, TGRC has definitely tapped into this market effectively in getting its message across and creating sustainability for the future of Mother Earth.
Do you have any interesting recycling initiatives and tips that you would like to share? Post your comments on our blog