Reader Bridget Bensimon raised a very interesting matter in an e-Mail to a day or so ago.
Her question, “where does one recycle glass, newspapers, tins etc. in the St Francis/Cape St Francis area? Given that there is such an emphasis on ‘Keeping it Green’ there are no bins and one can only take everything to the dump now.”

Bridget states in her mail that she asked one of the managers at St Francis Bay Superspar and was told something to the effect that “They” wanted to charge them to empty them? We take it the “they” is the municipality.

There were some recycling bins for glass, plastic and paper near the Caltex Service Station in St Francis Bay some time ago but these have since disappeared, possibly because they were an eyesore and a health hazard. Maybe they have been moved elsewhere but if that is the case, it is a well-kept secret.

Cape St Francis Resort certainly make some effort to encourage recycling and have separate bins for glass, plastic, paper and tin. From what could be ascertained the contents are taken to the Talhado project run by St Francis Bay Rotary once a month. The Talhado project is a wonderful initiative but sadly really services Sea Vista and then only once a month.

Living in Durban before moving to St Francis, coloured ‘recycling’ bags were distributed to homeowners put out with normal garbage. The traditional garbage truck would collect the black household garbage bags and a separate “recycling” truck, the coloured bags. Generally the community responded and on garbage days the coloured bags adorned the pavements.

In addition, certain shopping centre allocated areas for recyclable materials with some also having special areas for e-Waste (electronic goods).
E-Waste is discarded electronic goods, old cell phones, computers, even those little penlight batteries you so easily toss into your household garbage. Many electronic products discarded without thought e contains contaminants such as mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, and brominated flame retardants and can involve risk to communities unless care is taken to avoid exposure caused by leaking heavy metals. If e-Waste is disposed of in open waste fills such as we have in St Francis, the workers in these landfills face significant risk.

Recycling has become a major industry and in the US even cigarette butts have recycle value to say nothing of cleaning up huge amounts of waste created by discarded butts. We digress a bit but this is rather interesting. According to reports out of National Geographic, cigarette butts are the world’s number one litter problem and represent the most common form of trash collected by Ocean Conservancy clean-ups amounting to more than double the amount of both food and beverage containers. So before you flick your cigarette butt into the sea or bury it in the sand of our beautiful beaches, think again. (See footnote)

As Bridget suggest, given the huge influx of people into both Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay over the holiday season and particularly Christmas, New Year and Easter, “there must be a gap for an entrepreneur and job creation?” There certainly is money in waste, particularly in recycled waste, although it is understandable that cost of transporting to recycling plants may cost more than the money to be made.

There must be loads of glass from pubs and other hospitality businesses, to say nothing of the old newspapers, plastic bottles and bags discarded every day. An enterprising local entrepreneur would surely have the support of local business to remove their recyclable waste. For the homeowner this budding entrepreneur could supply each household with colour coded plastic bags at a small profit to pay for weekly collection and making collection and sorting easier.

St Francis certainly has other more concerning matters such as the beach and the state of the roads, but something as important as recycling should not be ignored. Come on readers, let’s have some comments / ideas (below) and maybe there is someone in the St Francis community with the knowledge of how to extract financing from the government to create a small recycling business and possibly a recycling plant which would create employment. Also if anyone knows if there is somewhere to take your recycle waste please comment or e-Mail with the information.

Cigarette filters are made from wood-based plastic fibers that take generations to fully decompose, says Tom Szaky, CEO and founder of the New Jersey-based recycling company TerraCycle. And the filters can leach nicotine and tar into the ground or water. Butts are also often eaten by birds, fish, and other animals, who can choke on them or be hurt from the poisons they contain.
It is doubtful that cigarette recycling would viable in South Africa but we can dream, can’t we?

Watch this video Cigarette Waste Recycling