The V&A Waterfront reaffirmed its commitment to lessening the impact of plastics this Plastic-Free July. At the V&A, a dedicated team of more than 90 people collect, handle and sort all the waste on the property.
V&A Waterfront Signs Pact To Change Way Plastic Packaging Is Reused And Recycled This Plastic-Free July
July 3 marked International Plastic Free Day and the V&A precinct, as a sea-facing property, sees first-hand the amount of waste – particularly plastic – which pollutes the ocean and shoreline. During Plastic-Free July, the V&A Waterfront has reaffirmed its commitment to lessening the impact of plastics on the environment by signing up to the SA Plastics Pact, as well as hosting a new research study with restaurants in the precinct on ways to eliminate harmful plastics.
The Plastics Pact aims to change the way plastic products and packaging are designed, used, and reused. This is to ensure that plastics are valued and not regarded as cheap and easily disposable waste. V&A Waterfront’s Custodial Services Senior Manager Petro Myburgh said joining the SA Plastics Pact was one more step the Waterfront was taking in striving to be “a neighbourhood free of single-use plastics” and to be a world leader in systems-based circular design and innovative plastic waste management practices.
July 3 marked International Plastic Free Day and 28 July marked World Nature Conservation Day
July 3 marked International Plastic Free Day and according to Petro, the V&A precinct, as a sea-facing property, sees first-hand the amount of waste – particularly plastic – which pollutes the ocean and shoreline.
In partnership with Ocean Pledge, the Waterfront is due to launch a research study involving 5 tenant restaurants in its food court area where most of this single use plastic is found to try and eliminate the most harmful of it while implementing campaign that encourages a shift in consumer behaviour. “Similar programmes in the US showed the potential annual cost saving per restaurant of around R57 000 and 891 kilogrammes of plastic,” said Ocean Pledge’s Diony Lalieu. The project hopes to realise a quarter of a million Rands in savings between the participating restaurants while removing a significant amount of plastics and creating a blueprint for food courts in other shopping malls to follow.
Recent statistics show that globally at least 8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans annually, constituting a mammoth 80% of all sea debris. Among the most common plastic items which end up in the world’s oceans are shopping bags, coffee cups and lids, straws, water bottles, earbuds, sweet wrappers, and take-away containers.
SA generates 2.4 million tons of plastic waste annually, or 41 kilogrammes per person per year. The global average is 29kg. While 70% of plastics waste generated is collected, only around 14% is recycled. A total of 3%, or 79,000 tons, leaks directly into the environment where it manifests in the ingestion, suffocation, and entanglement of marine species.
“We know that a total of 94% of waste on South African beaches is plastics, with 77% of it being single-use plastics,” she said.
Innovation and Creation during Plastic-Free July
An innovative example of plastic recycling was the Waterfront’s use of eco-bricks in the construction of The Ridge, now home to the regional offices of Deloitte. Approximately 12,500 two-litre plastic bottles were stuffed with waste such as chip packets, candy wrappers and plastic shopping bags. The eco-bricks were then used as void fillers in certain foundation areas to reduce the amount of concrete that would otherwise have been needed. The initiative was a first for a large commercial building.
In another Plastic-Free July initiative in 2019, the V&A unveiled a Fish Named Faithful, a 4.5m-long by 2.5m-high wire and plastic sculpture, to highlight the impact of plastic waste on marine life.
A Fish Named Faithful was designed and created by Our Workshop, a Langa-based non-profit headed by internationally acclaimed designer Heath Nash.
Created from upcycled plastic and repurposed materials and a first in South Africa, the unique sculpture, located on the V&A’s Flagpole Terrace overlooking quay 5, is interactive in that the public are invited to throw plastic waste into the fish’s mouth, filling its belly while highlighting how much of our plastic waste ends up in the bellies of marine life.
Waste Recovery and Recycling at V&A
At the V&A, a dedicated team of more than 90 people collect, handle and sort all the waste on the property at the V&A’s Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre. There is a total of 384 collection points on-site and 550 bins are cleared twice a day.
In 2021, the team collected over 4,300 tons of waste and managed to divert 36%, or 1,540 tons, from landfill through recycling and composting. Of this, 26 tons of waste came from the waterways alone. Plastic makes up an estimated 20% of all waste collected in the Waterfront. Petro said: “Close to 15% of all recycled waste at the V&A is plastic, and in 2017 the V&A Waterfront made a public commitment to eliminate single-use plastics across the property, and this has helped us turn the tide against plastic through active engagement with tenants to recycle.”
Take a Journey Through the V&A Waterfront
With so much to experience at the V&A Waterfront every single day of the week, make it your mission to pop by as often as you can to make the absolute best memories!
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ONE DESTINATION, SIX UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES
There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 6, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 6 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.