“One man’s junk is another man’s Treasure”

In this day and age, recycling HAS to become a way of life.  Stonehurst Estate is right behind this and has taken every step possible to make things as easy as possible for every resident to become involved.  When I was living in the “suburbs” it was quite a mission to recycle, but we still managed to do it – all the plastic stuff, the bottles, the newspapers etc all had to be separated and bundled together and then once a month we packed it all into the boot of the car and took it down to Bergvliet High School who are renowned for their recycling efforts.  On Stonehurst, it’s a breeze, we simply have a container large enough in which to place our FREE clear very strong plastic bag and then we proceed to fill it up with anything recyclable like the newspapers, clean plastic containers, clean bottles, packaging, boxes etc.  Although there are only two of us living in our home, by the end of the week, I have filled up a bag completely.  Then we simply tie a knot in the bag and leave it outside on a Monday and Wasteman collect it – So easy!!!  So why is everyone single resident not participating???

I thought perhaps a little background information might encourage you all to make more effort and with this in mind, we organised a visit to Wasteman to see what they actually do there.  Glynis, together with Mike Jay and my husband, Darryl Simpson went to visit – here is Glynis’s feedback:

“This plant is a relatively small facility based in the Airport Industria just off the N2 near Cape Town. We were first taken to the drop-off area where the Wasteman trucks deliver the clear bags of recyclable material. This is really a big heap of rubbish, which is slowly loaded from where the trucks tip the bags and material onto the ground, onto a conveyer belt which hauls the load up a storey into the main building, onto a raised platform. The guide noted that there was generally a lot of contamination in the recyclables, although Stonehurst’s recovery was much higher than the average, at around 98%. (This means you are doing the right thing!)

Wasteman Visit

What struck me first was the level of noise in the sorting area. The conveyor belt running from the offloading area to the sorting section operates all day, with a clattering regularity reminiscent of a freight train. The guide explained that 95% of the sorting work is carried out by hand, by the 20 or so women that were positioned on the raised conveyor section. They each have a type of material which they need to pick out of the debris rolling past them.

The ladies selecting the plastic containers are at the beginning, just alongside the tins, which are apparently easy to pick out. These plastic bottles, tubs, and receptacles are tossed over the side of the balustrading into a pit where another conveyor pulls these up into a hopper which then compacts these into bales. Next are the thin plastic bags which are sorted into colours and placed into bigger bags – also destined for the compactor. Cardboard and paper are next, with the group right at the end selecting the glass items, and dropping these through a hole in the floor, into a skip, with a loud crash.


If this sounds quite labour intensive to you, it is. However, since we have so many unemployed people, this is a great way of providing work, saving the planet and making revenue out of what would otherwise end up in yet another landfill.

Apparently, clear plastic is the most sought after and valuable, going through the colours to black being the least – most likely why ‘black bags’ are the most prevalent and cheapest.

At the moment, however, the plant is operating at just about break-even, and they are encouraging everyone to recycle, as increased volumes will make a difference to the profitability of the programme, besides being the right thing to do. So, we encourage every resident on Stonehurst Mountain Estate to please recycle! ”

We are at the moment paying Wasteman about R10 000 a month for this service (+- R50 per home) and depending on the amount of waste we recycle, they give us a rebate.  So, in essence, the more we recycle the more we get back!  These are our latest stats below:

Stonehurst Wastemen Stats Jan - April 2013

I took a quick drive around the Estate last Monday to see how many homes are recycling and although we are not doing too badly, there are many homes that are not participating.  We are paying for this service so it is in your best interest just from a financial point of view to take advantage of this easy way of recycling but, of course, one must look at the bigger picture – we cannot keep just throwing eveything onto a rubbish heap…. please take a little care with your recycling too, any contaminated rubbish in your clear bags will not be removed.  No garden refuse or wet rubbish is to be put into these bags.

We will keep you updated on our progress and who knows, perhaps at the end of the year we can use the rebated money on something useful for the Estate.

Do you have any ideas on how to encourage the residents to “get with the programme?”


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