Waste reclaimers safety priorities

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JOHANNESBURG, 30 July 2020 – During Mandela Month, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) focused its efforts to provide much-needed support for vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19. Special focus was on waste reclaimers, who are a critical part in the company’s efforts to minimise environmental harm from its product packaging.

“We remain positively encouraged by our social partners whose support has enabled us to respond positively and with real impact. Waste reclaimers, who earn a livelihood from the complex and arduous task of managing recyclable waste, are especially at risk of infection, but have limited access to sanitisers and other protective equipment to keep them safe,” said CCBSA Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director, Nozicelo Ngcobo. “As an integral part of the country’s recycling value chain, they were amongst the worst affected during the lockdowns, and need all the help they can get.

“In working with our partners, we are dedicating focused time and energy into providing as much meaningful support as we can. As one of the largest producers of beverage packaging in the economy, it is our duty to ensure the proper implementation of COVID-19 safety guidelines across our ecosystem by providing the essentials where required,” she says.

On Mandela Day Saturday, 18 July, CCBSA, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to 300 inner city-based waste reclaimers. This was followed by a community clean-up drive in Turffontein, an initiative aimed to promote the City’s #KleenaJoburg reloaded campaign, in partnership with the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry.

In Seshego & Makhado, Limpopo Province, CCBSA handed over PPE and food e-vouchers to 130 waste reclaimers on Thursday, 30 July.
During the course of July, CCBSA provided further community support in various parts of the country, including:

• Mask and sanitiser donations in the Alexandra community in Gauteng;
• A donation of food parcels and care kits in Mamelodi;
• Food parcel donations in Bloemfontein;
• Blanket donations to the elderly in Mpumalanga;
• Food vouchers and product donations to KwaMashu community members;
• Food parcel and blanket deliveries to the Door of Hope and the Sinethemba Children’s Home in Nelson Mandela Bay;
• Food parcel donations in Rustenburg and the Community Policing Forum in the Vaal Triangle;
• Furniture dotation to afterschool programme in Klerksdorp; and
• A facemask handover in the Xhariep District.

In addition to the 430 waste reclaimers, a total of 4050 households were impacted across these areas in an investment of over R865 000 during July.

“I am proud of the CCBSA teams that continue to work tirelessly in support of communities in our country as well as key role players in the recycling value chain during Mandela month and beyond. While waste reclaimers received a special focus in the bulk of our efforts, we identified the areas of greatest need in four of the most vulnerable regions across South Africa,” Ngcobo said. “To limit infection, we recognised that we have to support everyone in the community to enhance health, hygiene and warmth during the difficult winter months.”

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