Medical waste to school shoes: Joburg's clever recycling project

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A new project has been launched in Johannesburg that recycles used, nonhazardous intravenous drip bags and tubes into soles for schools shoes. This innovative initiative is being run by Netcare, Adcock Ingram Critical Care and the City of Johannesburg under the leadership of Mayor Herman Mashaba.To launch the initiative, Mashaba and the teams from the partner organisations handed out around 1000 school shoes to learners at Masakhane-Tswelopele Primary School in Zandspruit, just northwest of Johannesburg.The project aids two causes; it provides learners with school shoes and also opens up a sustainable avenue for hospitals and clinics to dispose of their healthcare waste. This means that nonhazardous plastic medical materials are recycled and repurposed rather than being incinerated and destroyed.

The mayor’s vision for Johannesburg

“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,” says Mashaba. “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,” he explains.This campaign also aligns with the mayor’s vision of making Johannesburg one of the cleanest cities in the world. Citizens are encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste in an effort to help the environment and reduce the waste that ends up in landfills.

Repurposing medical waste

Netcare, South Africa’s largest private hospital network, is proud to be involved in such a beneficial project. “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,” says Netcare CEO Richard Friedland.Similar PVC recycling programmes exist elsewhere in the world and campaigns such as this have forced the medical industry to think about reducing their impact on the environment. Australia has taken a firm stand against plastic waste, especially in the medical sector, and in the process have created jobs and valuable research.Image credit: © Randburg Sun___Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment. ___By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries. ___Follow us Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the best tips on recycling and the latest industry news. See our Instagram and YouTube channels for more insights into environmental affairs and our work with local communities.