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garbage, ONE MAN’S

treasure ANOTHERS

Waste is not waste, it is a resource, says Waste Plan Managing Director Bertie Lourens. By Ian Armitage


Waste Plan FEATURE


reen is in and whether you want to save the world, stop global warming or simply reduce the waste you send to landfill, there are companies out there that can help. One of them is Cape Town-based Waste Plan, the most significant recycling supplier in the Western Cape. According to Managing Director Bertie Lourens, it diverts about 1,000 tons of refuse, including paper, plastic, and aluminium from landfill every single month in the city of Cape Town, from about 60,000 houses. “Our goal is to transform the way people – individuals, families, businesses and government - see waste,” Lourens says. “Waste is just not waste any longer. Waste is now a resource. It really is a resource that could make earnings, but it can conserve the resources, which we use on an everyday foundation.” Waste Plan, which was formed in 2003, has recycled enough paper to preserve the lives of more than 62,000 pine trees, Lourens says. He adds that individuals are “voluntarily taking part in the recycling system.” “We specialise in recycling and landfill reduction.” Waste Plan also aids businesses with waste reduction systems – it works with the likes of Tiger Brands, DHL and Makro - and has employment initiatives to assist in supporting people who are homeless. “The services we offer include onsite sorting and cleaning, waste reduction/removal

I think we demonstrate that waste is not waste. Waste is a resource: it can generate income, create jobs and save the environment


Waste Plan FEATURE

RED DESIGN Waste Plans’ brief to RED was to create a corporate look changing the way people think about waste. With targeted visuals and payoff lines, a distinct look of professionalism and quality, RED ensured Waste Plan a competitive edge within their market. By carrying the brand through to relevant corporate products, a professional brand was established within the field Waste Plan attend. Driven by big dreams, passion and creativity, REDs’ team takes the growing of their clients’ brands very seriously. RED work with new business concepts and great ideas, creating a strong brand to reach the target market professionally. studio +27 867272899

and electronic monitoring,” says Lourens. “Our main focus point is on removal reduction and in turn waste to landfill reduction. “Waste is a risk that needs to be managed by a professional,” he adds. “For a business, we will do a waste audit free of charge, apply our formulas to their waste streams and if we can reduce the waste they send to landfill, we will propose a service where we manage their waste in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly manner. “For each kg of waste that we remove from the waste stream there is a double benefit - reduction in landfill cost, as well as income from the recycling of that kg. “Of course, everyone is interested in saving money, and more so now that things have been a tougher with the economy. Also with green targets, CSR and environmental responsibility how it is, companies want to be seen to be green and caring for the environment.” 4

Waste Plan FEATURE

Waste is just not waste any longer. Waste is now a resource

Waste Plan’s involvement with some blue chip companies have increased recycling rates from below 50 percent to above 80 percent. Waste Plan profits from the reduction of waste, and saves businesses money, Lourens says. “We aren’t just about recycling or waste management; we also do waste reduction.” Waste Plan is the biggest company of its kind in the Western Cape. It also has a growing presence in Gauteng. Next up is KZN. “We are expanding in KZN,” says Lourens. “We have grown in the Gauteng, where we have set up a division which has been running for about a year now – I moved to Pretoria to head up that division. “Our KZN general manager is in training at the moment in Cape Town. When we are ready we will launch in KZN. It could be before the end of the year. “It is exciting for us as then we will have a very secure platform – a Western Cape, KZN and Gauteng footprint. From there we will plan the next, smaller provinces.” Reducing the amount of waste going to landfill is a huge challenge, but Waste Plan is making big strides. The Polokwane Declaration signed in 2001 – which led to the Waste Act of July 2009 – sets ambitious landfill waste reduction targets. 6

“Waste is a risk and it costs money. It only makes sense that it needs to be managed by a professional that is focused on reducing your waste. We are that professional,” says Lourens. Are enough people recycling in South Africa? Sadly not, Lourens concedes. “As a country, no, not at all – we don’t do enough; there is absolutely more that could be done. There is a willingness to recycle more, but government needs to put the infrastructure in place to enable a greater rate of recycling. “I think we demonstrate that waste is not waste. Waste is a resource: it can generate income, create jobs and save the environment.” Waste Plan’s story is remarkable. It

has enjoyed growth that is the envy of competitors; it is the sort of growth that would make a 1990s Bill Gates jealous. “Our story is one worth shouting about,” says Lourens. “Over the last four years we have doubled turnover and profit each year. I don’t think you will see that kind of growth from any company and I attribute that to the change in legislation and the change in the way the world views the environment. “Companies, governments and individuals are becoming more aware of the importance of the issue of how to deal with waste, although there is plenty more to do. “Growth has been phenomenal and we can’t see how that will possibly slow down over the coming years,” he concludes. END

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