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Feature: KNP Aims at 100% Recycling

Date: 2006-06-22

by Raymond Travers

 What to do with waste will always be a challenge, even in big cities and population centres. But how does South Africa's largest game sanctuary, the Kruger National Park, cope with hundreds of tons of waste material produced by more than a million guests per year?

With a touch of a button, the blue machine shakes into life, building up the power that grinds its machinery into its basic function – bailing plastic items of waste. Another Kruger National Park (KNP) staff member picks up a huge Hessian sack and empties it into the machine’s wide mouth. From the depths of the machine, a churning almost bubbling rumble and the sack-load of plastic bottles disappears into the machine.A whirring sound follows, and a bail of tightly packed plastics emerge, ready to be loaded up on a truck and taken to plastics recycling plants outside the boundaries of the Park.

“This machine,” says Kruger’s Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize, “will certainly help make the Kruger National Park a far more environmentally friendly place by recycling all the plastic bottles that are used by our visitors.”
He was speaking at the unveiling of the new machine, which took place at Skukuza’s Waste Disposal Site recently, which has been donated by various influential players in the plastics industry.

Petco, Buyisa-e-Bag and the Plastics Federation of South Africa clubbed together and donated the impressive machine with the aim of “protecting our national heritage”. “We don’t see plastic bottles as merely rubbish,” says Mr Syd Carter from Petco, “but as a valuable resource that can be recycled into carpet fibres, synthetics and other commercially viable products.”