The uses for recycled plastic are seemingly endless. From new containers and bottles to various types of furniture, building materials and even strong, durable roads. Now, recycled plastic is being turned into school desks; something urgently needed by many South African schools.
Forty schools in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal recently had over 700 new desks delivered to them. What made these desks special, is the fact that they are ‘Green Desks’ – made from 2700 kilograms of recycled plastic waste. This plastic waste was collected from the 2017 Two Oceans and Comrades marathons.
Tackling plastic waste while addressing school desk shortage
The donation is the brainchild of the #GoGreen project – a collaborative venture between Polyco, Old Mutual and WILDLANDS, a KZN-based conservation trust. The project aims to tackle the problem of plastic waste while also addressing the shortage of school desks in South Africa. There is a deficit of about 300 000 school desks in the country, according to WILDLANDS. This could explain why the deliveries of brand-new school desks were met with such great enthusiasm.
Twenty Green Desks were delivered to Axios School of Skills in Eerste River in the Western Cape in February 2019. Twenty more Green Desks were dropped off at Nobanda Primary School in Sweetwaters, KZN. The most recent delivery was 47 double Green Desks at Lalelani Primary School in Nthshongweni, KwaZulu-Natal.
Shortage of school desks addressed by recycling
Mandy Naudé, Polyco’s chief executive officer, said it is wonderful that South Africans can help to address the shortage of school desks, so helping to secure a brighter future for the younger generation, simply by recycling their plastics.
“This is our opportunity to show children the power of recycled plastic, all while they’re sitting at their Green Desks,” says Naudé. She believes that this is an opportunity for an important lesson to be passed on to the learners. “Currently, only 5% of South Africans recycle plastic, and we’re hoping these Green Desks will help fuel learners’ curiosity, encouraging them to ask questions about recycling and its powerful potential for change,” Naudé adds.
“Through the #GoGreen campaign, Polyco, Old Mutual and WILDLANDS hope to enlighten and educate young South Africans about the power that the recycling of plastic holds. This will be done one Green Desk at a time,” Naudé concludes.
Image credit: WILDLANDS
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