The Global Recycling Foundation, which is based in London and is supported by the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling, has announced 10 #RecyclingHeroes winners for Global Recycling Day, which took place March 18. According to the Global Recycling Foundation, each of the winners received a $500 prize for their dedication and innovation in local recycling.
The winners were selected from nominations from several countries around the globe. According to a news release from the Global Recycling Foundation, the winners have work spanning various sectors of the recycling industry, from plastics to textiles to curbside recycling.
The following are this year’s 10 winners:
- Rien Voets, Holland – Since retiring as a teacher, Voets joined a local municipality in Holland to work as a volunteer litter picker. He goes out every day on his bike, which has a trailer hooked up to it, to collect litter all around his township.
- Green Axis, Nigeria – Green Axis, a group in Nigeria, is promoting recycling in Enugu, Nigeria. The group works with volunteers who help to organize regular cleanup drives to collect recyclables while helping to restore the environment. The group also hosts educational programs on the importance of recycling within communities.
- Abdi Hirsi, Somalia – Hirsi started as a volunteer with a motto of “waste is a resource.” Now, Hirsi owns a recycling company in Mogadishu, Somalia. Hirsi started a plastic recycling plant using World Bank grant funding. The plant serves 17 districts in Mogadishu, producing house construction items.
- Bokashi Bran (Pty) Ltd., South Africa – This group promotes recycling of food waste to composting using its bokashi system. To date, it has helped to guide customers on how to divert about 30,000 metric tons of food waste from landfill. The group manufactures bokashi on a commercial scale while providing training and Global Recycling Foundation education on food waste separation.
- EcoAct, Tanzania – EcoAct is a social enterprise that manufactures eco-friendly building materials from plastic scrap by using an in-house developed technology called “Waxy II Technology,” a chemical-free and energy-conserving plastic extrusion system.
- International WeLoveU Foundation, South Korea – Launched in 2001 from South Korea, International WeLoveU Foundation works in 63 countries associated with the UN DGC, helping to promote the environment by planting trees and hosting cleanup campaigns across beaches, parks, communities and mountainous areas. In 2020, it launched a recycling challenge campaign to help raise awareness of PPE pollution from disposable products used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dgrade, Dubai and United Arab Emirates (UAE) – This organization works with more than 200 schools in the UAE, promoting beach cleanup campaigns. It organizes education workshops to help increase the collection of plastic scrap that is used in manufacturing of sustainable clothing. It works with communities to reduce waste from going to landfill and increases participation in recycling programs.
- Eco-Train, Canada – The group promotes its phone case recovery program and recycling.
- Metal Shredder, Hungary – The group has an innovative way to extract elements from X-ray films that promotes the use of recovered silver and extracts used to make filters for use in face masks, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group’s main focus is the sustainable and efficient recycling of electronic scrap and the extraction of precious and base metals from end-of-life components.
- Eco Spindles Private Ltd., Sri Lanka – This is a large recycler that produces yarn using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes. The group has initiated several scrap collection drives across Sri Lanka from fishing harbors, beach cleanup drives, local communities and schools. It promotes sustainable practices across the country, including introduction of a waste recycling awareness app.
According to the Global Recycling Foundation, the #RecyclingHeroes competition, which launched in February 2020, encourages people from across the globe to nominate individuals, businesses or communities that are setting examples with their recycling initiatives. In addition to receiving a $500 prize, the Global Recycling Foundation will promote the 10 winners’ work to audiences around the world.
“Once again this year there has been an astonishing variety of entries from countries around the world, making it very difficult to select just 10 winners,” says Ranjit Baxi, founder and president of the Global Recycling Foundation. “But for us, every single entrant is a hero and champion for your contributions in the vital campaign to combat climate change and drive home the message of recycling and sustainability.”