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Addressing Africa’s Plastic Pollution epidemic

In the townships of South Africa, an initiative called Project Butterfly is helping to combat the problem of plastic waste

Project Butterfly was introduced in 2017 in Tembisa, Johannesburg and is now also active in Durban. It works with local communities and non-profit organizations to combat poor waste management through education, clean-ups and innovation-focused initiatives. Project Butterfly is also helping Wildlands convert unrecyclable plastics into recyclable materials that can be used for green buildings and fuel.

The following year 2018, Project Butterfly collaborated with the Wildtrust, a leading South African environmental NGO that helps local people become ‘wastepreneurs’, to generate income through the collection and exchange of recyclable waste. Today, a little over 715 ‘wastepreneurs’ have joined in the initiative, playing a vital role in the plastics value chain by ensuring that waste reaches the Wildlands Recycling Depot.

On the heels of Project Butterfly is Chemicals Company Dow, who is also financing the growth of Wildtrust’s recycling villages, which includes collection points in schools, shopping centres and other public areas that allow consumers of the wastes to more easily recycle waste. On the whole, these villages make for the collection of an estimated 1.2 million kilograms of waste every year realized from an estimate of over 10,000 homes in South Africa.

‘Plastic pollution is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing South Africa today. By educating and engaging with local communities about proper waste management, organizing clean-ups and creating green economy employment opportunities, Project Butterfly is helping to create a more sustainable future for our country and the planet,’ said Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of the Wildtrust.

Dow has launched Project Butterfly in other African countries, including Nigeria and Kenya and is set to expand further in 2019.

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