DURBAN – BRICS Urbanisation Summit delegates participated in a site visit to the Green Corridors KwaMashu Materials Beneficiation Centre on Tuesday.

Delegates’ jaws dropped in awe at the BRICS Urbanisation Summit site visit to an innovation centre led by Green Corridors in KwaMashu that develops small-scale, low tech high replicable business models located close to the source of the waste material.  These business models are operated by start-up SMMEs who are trained in beneficiating their available/focus waste materials.   The KwaMashu Materials Beneficiation Centre is predominantly focused on developing technologies and products from waste/low-value materials such as non-recyclable plastic, building rubble, street swept sand, collected glass bottles, alien invasive plant material, and garden and food waste-material.  These materials are converted into a range of environmentally friendly products.

The centre is also home of the Bokashi Compost, which, in addition to diverting organic waste from landfill, has many additional environmental benefits.  It reduces carbon footprint due to shorter distances being travelled to reprocess the organic waste material.  The compost is produced using an anaerobic fermentation process unlike other composts which use the natural composting (decomposition) process.  The fermentation process produces less CO2 and or methane so is 60 times more environmentally responsible than the current endpoint for the materials used.  As such, they envisage these SMMEs especially cumulatively to have a substantial carbon credit trading capacity.  They integrate alien invasive plant materials into the compost as a way of improving biodiversity which is so severely compromised by alien invasive propagation.  The packaging is reusable unlike other compost packaging which is single-use.   Strict quality controls are imposed on the Bokashi compost to ensure consistently superior quality compost free of alien invasive seeds.  They have done multiple grow tests in various environments with various soils which they have proven to be highly cost-effective compared to similar products.  Green Corridors are committed to supplying their high-quality compost in ergonomic and sustainable packaging.

Bokashi Compost

 

The Beneficiation Centre also proudly presented Green Concrete products to BRICS Urbanisation delegates.   One of the ways to divert many of these challenging materials from landfill, is by reducing them down into small pieces and blending them together with cement to make what is called Green Concrete products.

All waste material in the green concrete products is fully integrated into their products to make sure it doesn’t leach out and damage the environment.  Pavers are made with 87% waste (by volume) with a particularly hard (recycled glass) top surface to ensure a long lifespan.  Each paver production line (comprising 4 previously unskilled staff) can make 50-60 pavers a day.  Pavers are sold for R115 (incl VAT) which generates sustainable incomes for these staff and enough revenue to grow the project.  Green Corridors wish to set up multiple facilities around eThekwini to prove the business model and then replicate the model in other cities.  Each facility costs approximately R400k to set up.  Three production lines can run out of one facility so a facility can produce up to 200 pavers a day.  They are developing a range of pavers with different surfaces for different environments/markets.

Green Pavers for schools

 

Some pavers like the one in the image above are made specifically for schools and have brightly coloured plastic on the top surface so they stand out as a feature in schools.  They hope that this in turn raises awareness of the potential value of what is perceived to be waste and also the need to manage waste responsibly.  Pavers are available for purchase by the public or for donations to schools.  For every 10 pavers purchased, one paver is donated to the school they have identified as being the neediest beneficiary.  Currently Green Corridors is supporting Shayamoya School

Green Corridors collaborates with local communities, creating multiple opportunities for members to participate in the health and welfare of their natural surroundings.  Healthy environments offer untold benefits for food security, clean water and sanitation, well-being, and, importantly, self-employment and skills.  Green Corridors partners with a variety of stakeholders, to create open spaces in key local destinations. The goal is to establish a balance between important environmental ‘musts’, and the challenges faced by communities who live in those areas.  By restoring those environments to good health, the benefits to the community are legion…not least of all, safe and clean spaces in which children can play, non-toxic rivers, and meaningful employment in numerous sectors, including tourism.

For further information contact their website at www.greencorridors.org.

By Zoé Pillay – For the prosperity of the City!