Vodacom, one of South Africa’s biggest mobile network service providers, has recently announced its commitment to tackling plastic waste. The business will no longer be providing customers with plastic bags at any of their stores nationwide. Vodacom will issue brown paper bags instead.
“We are aware of the popularity of plastics mainly because plastic is affordable and lasts longer. However, it is this very characteristic that makes plastics persistent pollutants in the environment,” says Vodacom Corporate Affairs chief officer Takalani Netshitenzhe.
Paper bags a better alternative for Vodacom
“While plastics are useful in our daily activities and seem impossible to live without, plastics have a significant impact on environmental pollution, wildlife deaths, human health hazards and other detrimental impacts,” she explains.
“We have chosen a paper bag because it is less harmful to the environment as compared to plastic. We’ve also removed single-use plastics at our Midrand offices, which include plastic straws and plastic stirrers, amongst others, in our buildings,” adds Netshitenzhe.
Vodacom reduces other types of waste
Vodacom is also looking beyond plastic waste. The company is investigating innovative ways to reduce e-waste in its operations. Dealing with mobile phones, tablets and networking equipment on a daily basis, Vodacom has to process quite a large amount of electronic waste.
In 2018 alone, Vodacom reused over 180 tonnes of network equipment and recycled around 75 tonnes of batteries. The company has reduced its waste to landfill; saving 28 tonnes of food waste from its canteens, which is recycled into compost. This compost is used to fertilise Vodacom’s gardens at its Midrand headquarters.
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