Victoria Falls Recycling has received international recognition, winning an award at a leading travel show “We Are Africa” held in Cape Town recently.
The “We Are Africa Innovation Awards” celebrate the best in independently-minded, brilliantly-executed travel ideas, and Victoria Falls Recycling won the Engage Africa award, which recognises community collaboration to build a more united Africa.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy, whose hospitality group launched Victoria Falls Recycling a year ago said: “Recognition of projects such as Victoria Falls Recycling by industry peers and independent judges always enhances the accolade and pride for the dedicated people involved.”
Kennedy commended conservationist Charlene Hewat, the driving force behind the project, together with AAT group operations manager Andy Conn and the Victoria Falls Recycling team for the recognition.
“The next stage is to build a new recycling centre on land provided by Victoria Falls Municipality, where a retail outlet will also be set up, to sell products created from recycled waste,” he said.
“We are immensely proud to be involved in the founding, funding and operation of Victoria Falls Recycling.”
In a statement, AAT said since Victoria Falls Recycling was launched in March last year, in partnership with Greenline Africa, the Victoria Falls Municipality and PetrecoZim, it has collected and baled more than 24 tonnes of waste – paper, plastics, glass, kaylite, cans and packaging – for recycling.
Hewat, who is the project co-ordinator, said the waste would otherwise have ended up in the dumpsite, rivers and wilderness areas in and around Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s top tourist destination and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
“Victoria Falls does not have a proper landfill site at the moment and, therefore, it is critical that we harvest and collect as much recyclable product as possible before it reaches the dumpsite,” Hewat said.
“Collection at source is the focus of the project. We started off with hotels, lodges and restaurants and will move to household collection mid-2019.”
Victoria Falls Recycling, which is the only recycling centre in the region, employs a team of three young people and works with locals who collect waste and are paid per kilogramme.