Adcock Ingram Critical Care, Netcare, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and the City of Johannesburg, this week launched a project that recycles used, nonhazardous intravenous infusion drip bags and tubing made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to produce soles for school shoes.
As part of the initiative, Mashaba on Tuesday handed out roughly 1 000 school shoes to learners of the Masakhane-Tswelopele primary school, in Zandspruit.
Not only will the project benefit school children, but it also assists hospitals in disposing of their healthcare waste in a safe way that creates functional new products.
“This fantastic initiative is aligned with the A Re Sebetseng mayoral project – a clean-up campaign encouraging all citizens to take pride in their environment, community and city.
“I am a strong believer in public–private partnership. We, as government, have no chance of doing it on our own so it’s incredibly exciting to be part of this project that is built on a joint effort between a pharmaceutical company, a private healthcare provider group and local government, to benefit impoverished children. This is the way of the future,” said Mashaba.
The donation of school shoes was of personal significance to Mashaba, who did not have shoes for school as a child. “When you have shoes, you have pride,” he stated.
“We are promoting a culture of reducing, reusing and recycling waste to ensure Johannesburg becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa,” added Mashaba.
Netcare CEO Richard Friedland highlighted that the project was just the start of a partnership in which the three parties have come together to all play a part in reducing waste, pollution and the number of landfill sites, ultimately benefitting all citizens.
“We look forward to the meaningful difference this recycling initiative will make in the lives of individuals and communities as we expand it in the coming years,” he added.
Globally, PVC recycling programmes are changing the way hospitals think about reducing both their costs and their impact on the environment.
Countries such as Australia are taking a tougher stance on the recycling of plastics in the belief that this could create jobs in recycling, engineering and research.
Locally, the hospital PVC recycling project was initiated with the assistance of the Southern African Vinyls Association, which implemented a recycling programme whereby nonhazardous material and PVC was recovered for recycling.
This encouraged local PVC manufacturers to adopt sustainable practices and to remove hazardous materials from the manufacturing process.