“Waste separation at source is essential for South Africa's success in recycling”
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Postwink helps companies and households to increase their recycling rate.
Growing up in France as a teenager, Berenice Westmore was used to recycle paper, glass and other materials. When she moved to South Africa, she struggled to find recycling banks.
“I was driving with empty bottles in the boot of my car – looking for glass banks. They were so difficult to find, that I decided to import them myself.”
However, she soon learned that the European recycling model depends on high capital expenditure and reduced labour costs. “Their recycling banks require special trucks and automated sorting lines. Here in South Africa, we prefer lower capital investments and more labour. That is why the European model does not work here.”
During this journey, she noticed a high demand from companies who wanted to reduce their waste stream going to landfill. “Offices, hotels, shopping malls, all have high costs to dispose of their waste streams. They can reduce these costs by separating their waste. Recycling companies collect the valuable paper, plastics and even organic waste.”
With this insight, she founded Postwink in 2007.
“We offer companies recycling bins and we train their staff in how to use them. This separation at source significantly increases their recycling rate. At the same time, it educates the staff about recycling and our impact on the environment.”
During lockdown, Berenice noted an increased demand from private homes for recycling solutions. “They learned about it at the office, and now they want to continue recycling when they work from home.”
Following this trend, Postwink now also offers recycling solutions for private homes. “We started an online store, and we saw turnover on the website double in less than a year!”
On the online store, anyone – yes you too! – can access recycling bins, cleaning materials, recycling bags and even cool reusable household items.
“We are also seeing a lot of interest in recycling of biological and compostable waste. Organic waste is a valuable resource! It can be transformed into nutrient-rich compost, animal feed and bio-gas.
Hotels, restaurants and households use our Bokashi Bins to deposit their food waste into airtight containers. By adding these enzymes, the waste starts its composting process. You can use this compost in your garden, or have it collected by specialized collectors.”
Berenice feels that if we want to reach a #ZeroWaste world, we need more education.
“People hide behind their lack of knowledge. Everyone needs to know: why we should separate, why we should recycle, and what each of us can do. We actually have a well-developed system for collection and recycling in South Africa. Companies and people must work with that system.”
So here’s what you can do: set up your separation system. Approach the collectors for your separated waste. There you are: you are now recycling.