The recycling flow of Grahamstown is dynamic and efficient, but this is through an organizational, business model. Companies like Grahamstown Recycling and Integrated Waste & Recycling Services are only some of the few waste management establishments in Grahamstown, along with the recycling collection service of Rhodes University and the Makana Municipality’s two-bag system. But these are macro-recycling initiatives rather than micro-individual ones.
Eco Bin Solutions is a new and local organization that provides independent services for alternative household recycling. St John Richie, a young entrepreneur and environmental health enthusiast, started up Eco Bin Solutions with William Milne this year. Richie says, “Not every household in Grahamstown has the means to take away waste, we decided to offer a service which aided in waste removal from your home at very low cost.”
Experiencing frustration at an inconsistent system of recycling household waste, the two set out on the vision of a “cleaner, greener and more ecologically friendly Grahamstown.”
For a small fee of R99 a month, you become a member. Eco Bin Solutions then collects your household waste once a week, and take it to their waste-site in the industrial area for sorting, separating, and transporting to the correct recycling channels – doing your recycling for you! This inexpensive waste management solution for domestic recycling not only minimizes traffic to landfills, but also encourages an easy and practical way for households to do their part in sustainability.
“What makes Eco Bin Solutions different is that nobody is servicing household waste… Also, there are other areas around Grahamstown, like Stones Hill, that have no waste collection at all,” says Richie.
Independent initiatives at a community level like this are gradually beginning to fill in for overwrought municipal duties, profiting while helping the community at the same time. Is it starting to become independent entrepreneurs’ responsibility to initiate sustainable projects like this, or does the government have a bigger role to play?
Richie believes it comes from both spaces, as local governments are under extreme pressure of resources and finances. “Private initiatives like ours will alleviate this kind of pressure off of strained municipalities like Makana. This is no different to what is happening in the security industry, where communities are relying increasingly on private companies for armed response,” he explains.
On municipal rubbish collection days, it’s not an uncommon site to see informal resource recoverers collecting metals, plastics and any other recyclable materials, which they sell for just cents a kilogram. Eco Bin Solutions collect on non-municipal days and are attempting to formalize a system where they work with informal waste collectors in safer, more controlled environments that aren’t hazardous to their health. As Eco Bin Solutions grow they are hoping to create jobs in which informal waste collectors can work in a safer, less hazardous environments.
For more information and to get involved with Eco Bin Solutions, check out