Rhodes University community working towards a plastics reduction and upcycling initiative

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Doughnut of planetary boundaries and social boundaries by Kate Raworth. Image source: DoughnutEconomics, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Doughnut of planetary boundaries and social boundaries by Kate Raworth. Image source: DoughnutEconomics, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Rhodes University team was awarded a 2020 Global University Climate Forum (Yale University) project, which is led by Ms Carlene Royle (Environmental Learning Research Centre, ELRC) and Ms Putuma Balintulo (2020 SRC Environmental Representative) with support of Dr Sukhmani Mantel (Institute for Water Research IWR and a representative of the Makana Plastic Action Group MPAG). The 2021 SRC Environmental Representative, Ms Milca Taku Matariro has also joined the project team. The project concept has been gaining support since Rhodes University’s Institutional Development Plan (IDP) discussion workshop led by the IWR in January 2020, and previously by actions led by various Rhodes University Departments and the Environmental Committee. During the 2020 IDP workshop, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University stated: “2020 is the year that we start to move forward in earnest, and ensure our graduates have a heightened awareness of sustainability and a sustainable future... so that tomorrow will be better than today”. However, COVID-19 put a stop to the plans, until the 2020 Global University Climate Forum project in late 2020. The proposed concept of regenerative sustainability builds on a partnership with a local business (PolyFibre EcoFrames factory located in Bathurst), and it focuses on waste reduction and sustainability practices through green/circular economy thinking (with roots in the Doughnut Economics thinking that has been promoted by Kate Raworth). The members of the Institutional Planning Committee (IPC) have indicated support for the proposal during its recent meeting. The next step requires approval of a shredding and baling site for managing the plastic recyclables before they are transported to the PolyFibre factory. Keep an eye out for progress in upcoming news items.  

Source:  Dr S Mantel

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