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Bindura health club turns waste into money

Every morning, a dozen men and women, who form Bindura Health Club, walk down the streets collecting empty cans. Each has a shopping cart or trash bags filled empty cans.

Upon collecting enough cans they return, to their workstation, where they turn cans into bins, bags, hats, jackets, among other things.

The community health club was born out of the Small Towns’ Water, Sanitation project, launched by UNICEF to address the underlying causes of cholera.

The initiative has seen Bindura community members making extra money from recycling empty and used drink cans.

Through the Small Towns’ Water and Sanitation Programme (STWP), Bindura is becoming well known for its vastly integrated and sustainable waste management system.  This system is built on a vision that views waste differently—not as something useless but as a resource.

Members of the health club who spoke to 263Chat applauded STWP for equipping them with knowledge on how to manage waste while at same time making extra money.

“The project has benefited us,” bragged one member who identified herself as Mai Mudzingwa.

She said members now have a responsibility to make sure that waste is disposed where it belongs.

Eric Ncube, another club member said the initiative has aided him to supplement his family income through recycling waste.

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“I’m now able to make extra money from collecting refuse. We turn the collected empty cans to valuables which we trade for money,” he said without divulging the exact amount he earns from selling the finished products.

Bindura Town Clerk, Mr. Shangwa Mavesere, acknowledged that prior to STWP, the town experienced illegal dumps and littering.

“Prior to the project we had a situation in which we had  numerous illegal dumping sites because of the poor refuse collection system,” he said.

He said the intervention has resulted in recycling and reuse of waste through the production of bags, bins, caps, jackets and hats.

He went on to say, “Bindura is diverting up to 60% of all household waste away from the landfill.  By 2020, the City expects to achieve a 90% diversion rate, largely through recycling.”

Bindura’s approach to waste management, through community health clubs is intended to provide environmental benefits, and providing alternative sources of income to members of the health club.

The approach also meets various social and economic needs by building and strengthening connections with various communities.

The emergency rehabilitation project for Bindura by UNICEF was in response to a Cholera Outbreak that claimed 4,200 people. Bindura had 4 deaths out of the 374 cholera cases recorded.

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Journalist based in Harare

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