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August 2011 - Collect-a-Can applaud inspirational women on Women’s Day 2011

On the occasion of Women’s Day this year, 9 August 2011, Collect-a-Can pays tribute to the women who make a difference to their own lives and the lives of others through the inspirational work they are doing with Collect-a-Can. Many recycling initiatives are driven by women, particularly at schools, and it is here that the true strength and tenacity of women is highlighted as they show great creativity and fortitude in finding ways to support the work that they do to support both their schools and their communities.  Today we highlight two such woman and applaud them for their continued commitment to helping those less advantaged through recycling cans.

Robynne Harty, Recycle It Now, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Robynne Harty is a woman with a passion for environmental issues.  Whilst working in the restaurant business it became clear to her that something needed to be done about the waste being generated along the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast that was ending up on the Pennington landfill site, a site with a current lifespan of five years.  Harty decided to single-handedly do something about extending that lifespan and this led her to investigate a number of multi-recycling strategies.

Harty established her own multi-recycling business, Recycle It Now, in March 2010 operating between Shelley Beach and Ramsgate and now employs 10 previously unemployed people to assist her.   Thanks to Harty’s passion and enthusiasm there has been enormous buy-in from corporates and holiday complexes in the area, as well as the Pennington Municipality, Pennington Conservancy and Southbroom Conservancy.  Pennington Municipality, who is equally keen to extend the life of their landfill site, now issues their residents and corporates with different coloured bags for recyclables which Recycle It Now collect from a central drop off point once full. 

It is clear to Harty that the culture of recycling needs to start with the very young and one of the recent projects she has successfully completed was a can collecting competition at Izothsha Primary School.   Over the period of a month, this little school collected around 2 tons of cans and has now been entered into Collect-a-Can’s national schools competition which not only pays cash for cans, but also rewards schools financially for the tonnage of cans they collect, as well as offering prizes for creative endeavours.  Harty is a registered agent for Collect-a-Can on the South Coast. 

Recycle it now

Caption: Some Recycle It Now employees with their hoard of recyclable items.

Lynn Leader, Panda Bear Educare Centre, Western Cape
In 1996 Lynn Leader of Panda Bear Educare Centre in Pinelands started collecting cans and submitting them to Collect-a-Can as a means to help fund the school.  The fact that Panda Bear is small fry by comparison with some of the other schools entering Collect-a-Can’s competitions is no deterrent to Leader who says, “If you put your mind to it, you can do it.”  With the help of her husband she single-handedly collects cans from various restaurants and even a shebeen and delivers them to a Collect-a-Can depot where her school is registered for the Collect-a-Can schools competitions.

Panda Bear Educare Centre has, as a result, been able to consistently win prizes in some of Collect-a-Can’s annual competitions.  With the prize money they receive, Leader is able to subsidise nine children whose parents are unable to afford school fees and is also able to maintain the current reasonable school fees that she charges. Last year, Panda Bear also received a book prize to the value of R4,000 from Collect-a-Can.  This prize was most welcome at the time, as the Educare Centre had recently had a break-in and a lot of their books had been stolen. 

When it comes to collecting cans, Leader reminds the young children in her care daily about how important it is to collect and recycle metal cans and she runs a weekly class competition to keep them inspired.  Once a month, Leader personalises a trophy with the name of the child who brought in the most cans for the month and they keep it in their home for that month.

Lynn Leader

Caption: Lynne Leader of Panda Bear Educare Centre subsidises her school’s fees through money earned by collecting cans.
For more information contact the Collect-a-Can head office on 011 466 2939. Collect-a-Can are also on Facebook and Twitter.

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