Plastics SA

Inkwazi Isu Project

Successful Inkwazi Isu Project reduces waste, empowers the local community and fosters economic growth

The eThekwini Municipality Region (Durban) is the third largest in South Africa, with hill ranges, rivers and a long coastline. However, it struggles with the influx of plastic waste that pollutes the waterways and land and washes up along the shores.

The Inkwazi Isu Project was created to address waste management and pollution within the region through a 1.5m USD initiative that brought together organisations including:

  • Alliance to End Plastic Waste
  • Plastics SA
  • Polyco – Plastics Packaging Producer Responsibility Organisation – South Africa
  • PETCO – Producer Responsibility Organisation – South Africa
  • Sasol
  • Sustainable Seas Trust
  • eThekwini Municipality

“The Inkwazi Isu (Fish Eagle Project) is the brainchild of a group of collaborators from Industry, Government and Civil society who engaged with the eThekwini Municipality to arrange a River Catchment Project. This project aims to address waste education and awareness, waste management infrastructure development, and to highlight and address plastic pollution in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. Plastics SA is a proud partner in this integral project, which will ensure that plastics are collected and recycled and do not enter the environment or end up in landfill.”

Douw Steyn, Director Sustainability, Plastics SA

Taking action on pollution and driving innovation

The Inkwazi Isu project incorporates a holistic and sustainable approach to waste management, with a strong emphasis on community engagement, job creation, innovation, and environmental stewardship.
The project has four themes at its core:

Waste management infrastructural development

Six material recovery facilities (MRF) sites have been fully completed. These facilities will help the city to effectively sort plastics to be recycled and reused to make new items. A full collection value chain that integrates all pillars has been successfully implemented, meaning that waste plastics can be managed at every step of their recycling journey.

Already, 9.4KT of plastic waste has been diverted since June 2022, while in May 2023, a record high of 1,1KT (>10KTA) was achieved. This demonstrates the immediate impact the project is having and that there is capacity for growth.

Education and awareness

Two education and awareness programmes in 50 schools and eight major communities have been delivered to date. Understanding the impact of plastic waste and practical tips on identifying waste types have also encouraged students to bring in waste from home so that it can be sorted and recycled.

Clean-up campaigns

The project has contributed to a shift in attitudes towards waste management, with increased awareness and participation in recycling and clean-up efforts among community members.

Innovation and empowerment

The project’s focus on community engagement also resulted in socio-economic benefits such as job creation, skills development, and entrepreneurship programs. The local community has been empowered, which in turn fosters economic growth and self-reliance.

Delivering positive change for regional waste management practices

The project’s success has influenced local policies and practices, leading to greater emphasis on waste management infrastructure development, education, and community development.

From a practical perspective, the Inkwazi Isu project has brought about improved waste management practices, including enhanced collection and sorting efficiency. This has resulted in valuable materials being diverted from landfills, significantly reducing environmental impact and improving the land’s and waterways’ cleanliness.

“Polyco PRO NPC is proud to contribute to the successful collaboration between Inkwazi Isu, Polyco and EThekwini Municipality on the Dakota Recycling Buy-Back Centre launch and supporting additional projects in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region. This partnership is strategically aimed at fostering job creation within the recycling sector and preventing plastic waste from polluting the environment. Together, we are committed to positively impacting sustainability and creating a cleaner, greener future for all.”


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