Nestlé Esar Celebrates a Year of Partnering With Tembisa’s Waste Reclaimers in the Re-Imagine Tomorrow Pilot Project

In 2021, Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region (ESAR) joined forces with tech start-up Kudoti, waste buy-back centre, Destination Green, and waste reclaimers from Tembisa and together launched RE-Imagine Tomorrow, an ambitious waste management initiative. The project applies principles of the circular economy in tackling poor waste management, and has, over the last year, been developing a blueprint for an evolved waste management value chain. Key to this development is the multifaceted impact of empowering waste reclaimers, developing new markets for local businesses, recycling, and repurposing waste.

RE-Imagine Tomorrow was launched in September 2021, and the project analyses traditional waste management to explore innovations that improve the industry. Waste reclaimers typically collect waste to resell to waste buy-back centres at prices determined by bigger buy-back centres that have greater influence in the market. The impact of this dynamic has been that of tightly controlled pricing, and a limited range of collected waste. Further, this process generally has no consistently recorded data capturing the reclaimers, the waste they collected and the money they made. The informal nature of the entire value chain at the grassroots level made it difficult for all participants to innovate and grow. RE-Imagine Tomorrow is working on changing that, centering the waste reclaimers as the ultimate beneficiaries of this playbook in development.

In the playbook, RE-Imagine Tomorrow convenes technology, and community with corporate. Kudoti, provides the platform that enables the capturing of various data such as reclaimer profiles, date, type, and quantity of waste collected, and wages received. This creates a verifiable data track for every waste reclaimer involved in the project. In the long run, the data can help develop credit profiles for waste reclaimers and legitimise their occupation in the formal banking system, facilitating access to credit and other financial services from which they are currently excluded.

Destination Green convenes a community of waste reclaimers and buys collected waste from them. With eight centres across Tembisa, Destination Green’s reach enables waste reclaimers from across the neighbourhood, easy access to sell their wares. The data collection on Kudoti is done electronically, at the Destination Green centres.

Nestlé ESAR, as a corporate partner, has tasked the project with the collection of certain waste, especially plastic-related waste as part of the business’ waste management interventions. This has created a new market for Destination Green, allowing them to fairly gazette buy-back rates that are above average for the waste reclaimers. Nestlé ESAR has also made available additional incentives for top waste reclaimers every month, enabling them to increase their earnings further.

At the beginning of the pilot project, fifty waste reclaimers were participating in the project. Over and above the creation of waste reclaimer profiles, training is part of the pilot, ensuring that there is skills development for the waste reclaimers. Programmes include budgeting and personal finance, sustainability, and motivational talks from successful business owners in the waste recycling space. To date, an additional 100 waste reclaimers have been onboarded, making the total beneficiaries, 150.

You may also like

Popular News