knysna swap shop
recycling waste

ECO-FRIENDLY ... A group of school pupils bring their recyclables to the Swop Shop at Sinethemba in Knysna in exchange for basic items like toiletries and stationery.

A RUBBISH-SWOPPING initiative has been launched in Knysna’s Concordia area where children can exchange recyclable refuse for basic items such as food, toiletries and stationery.

A similar programme that has been running in Hermanus for seven years was adapted by Sue Swain, the bio-mimicry facilitator spearheading the municipality’s “Knysna Turns to Nature” campaign, Edge of Africa, the Knysna Economic Development Agency (Keda) and Knysna Tourism.

“The Swop Shop programme basically entails children collecting recyclables and bringing it to one of three Swop Shops where the waste will be weighed. Based on the weight collected, children will earn Edge tokens which may be redeemed at the shop for items such as basic toiletries, stationery, clothing, pet food or toys,” Swain said.

She said the waste would then be sorted and taken to a recycling centre in Concordia.

“We would also like to get adults involved with this programme. Over 18s will earn Edge tokens which may be exchanged for a variety of empowerment courses such as literacy, computer literacy and welding,” Keda representative Teres Goslett said.

The Swop Shop project relies heavily on donations from the public to stock the shop and Goslett said goods such as basic toiletries, stationery, non-battery operated toys and pet food could be delivered at the Keda Office in Woodmill Lane on weekdays.

Edge of Africa co-founder Dayne Davey said they were still looking for funding for three shipping containers to be used as shops but the sites had already been identified.

“It will be run as a mobile facility for now and children will be able to swop and shop at Sinethemba, Magdaleentjie’s Creche and the BMW Love Life Centre on different afternoons of the week,” she said.

She said the project would not only contribute to a cleaner environment, but would provide children with the opportunity to be rewarded for their recycling efforts while meeting their basic needs.

“It will teach them the value of saving, as well as promote the learning of basic mathematical skills as the children will be involved with the weighing and calculations.

“Once this pilot project is up and running, the understanding of the impact of waste may be extended to the pricing of goods according to their carbon footprint,” she said.

She said children would also be helped to assess and understand the life cycles of products.

“This has become an essential practice in the commercial world as products are being increasingly judged on their impact on the environment.”

Swain said the pilot project was identified bearing in mind the basic principle that waste is a valuable resource in the natural world.

“Biomimicry asks us to look at the natural world to find better ways of conducting our day-to-day business. The natural world has been engineering, constructing, manufacturing and producing for billions of years without tapping into fossil fuels or producing harmful waste. All waste produced in nature is useful, either serving as food or as a resource for the next creature.”

Source – The Weekend Post

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