Waste Management, June 29, 2022, 11:44 a.m.

Waste reclaimers are on a roll in Gauteng

Author: info@klassikdigital.co.za

Gauteng-based waste reclaimers initiative, Urban Surfer, has, since November 2021, boosted its socioeconomic and environmental impact.

The 50 waste reclaimers have covered almost 19 000 km, collecting and selling over 700 000 kg of plastic recyclables worth more than R1.4 million.


According to John Kullmann, Urban Surfer’s Head of Design and Development: “We aim to improve working conditions, create awareness around the value informal reclaimers bring and change policy to increase our waste reclaimers’ earning potential. This would not be possible without the support of comparison site Hippo.co.za, who have sponsored the initiative since its inception.”


Urban Surfer believes that the branded quality equipment and PPE gives the waste reclaimer a sense of belonging.  “They are far more accepted by the public and businesses, which gives them greater access to recyclable waste,” says Kullmann.


Urban Surfer began with 50 reclaimers in Alexandra but most of the project has now been relocated into Sandton and The Parks areas. “Our goal is to have as much coverage in residential areas as possible, as the reclaimers who collect waste in the suburbs are able to collect more recyclables than those in Alex.  By deploying more trolleys into those focus areas, Urban Surfer is maximising its impact,” says Kullmann.


The strategy is clearly paying off and Urban Surfer is also enabling the waste reclaimers to build alternative income streams. This is the case for Kagiso “Khakha” Monaise, who has used his income from the initiative to open a buy-back store in Alex.


“Urban Surfer gave me bigger opportunities and new possibilities by giving me the waste pickup trolley,” Monaise says, reflecting on the difference the initiative has made to his life. “They showed me that my opportunities are not limited.” While Monaise has faced challenges on the path to financing his business and accessing resources, its exponential growth in just three months is testament to his skills as a businessman and the self-belief cultivated by his work at Urban Surfer.


Commenting on the initiative, CEO of Hippo.co.za, Bradley Du Chenne says: “Informal waste reclaimers have created their own form of green jobs and make significant environmental and economic contributions. They ultimately provide a free recycling service to the areas in which they operate and we are encouraged by the progress that has been made in a relatively short period of time.”


Official waste collection companies like the City of Johannesburg’s Pikitup no longer cover all areas of the city. This has increased the need for an effective waste removal and recycling service. Urban Surfer has stepped in to fill that gap, keeping Joburg’s streets clean and diverting several tons of waste from landfills.


Du Chenne notes that there is an unjustified stigma around waste reclaimers. “They are not dumpster divers – they perform an important, free civic service – especially in suburbs where the need is greater than ever before. Urban Surfer promotes environmental awareness, bringing the need to recycle to the fore. Waste reclaimers are creating a better City for all of us and we encourage Joburg residents and fellow corporates to support their vital work.”


About Hippo.co.za


Established in 2007, Hippo.co.za helps South African consumers save money by comparing a range of South African providers across financial products such as car insurance, household insurance, life insurance, medical aid and more. Hippo.co.za is free to use and saves consumers the time and hassle of shopping around for the best deal since the Hippo.co.za website instantly retrieves real-time quotes from the different providers using the latest internet technology. You could save by using Hippo.co.za to compare before you buy or switch to a new provider.


Hippo.co.za makes money by simply charging its partners a fee when a customer chooses to find out more about their products. The results consumers see, and the order in which they are presented, are in no way influenced by the fee Hippo.co.za charges its partners or any other factors other than the price of the product being compared. The arrangement Hippo.co.za has with its partners ensures that the price you see is the same you would be offered by the partner when using the same criteria.