South Africa’s 2019 recycling champions announced: Eastern Cape

South Africa’s 2019 recycling champions announced: Eastern Cape
26 Jun 2019

South Africa’s 2019 recycling champions announced: Eastern Cape

HUMANSDORP – On the back of its recent announcement of a 6% year-on-year increase in the recycling of PET plastic bottles, national industry body the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) has unveiled its 2019 recycling champions – people and organisations making strides in sustainability at grassroots level across South Africa.

Representing the Eastern Cape in the honours list is recycling enterprise Nzima Recycling.
The Humansdorp-based business has overcome extreme adversity – twice – to scoop the award in the PET-trepreneur category, which it shared with Makhabisi Recycling in Gauteng.

Nzima started out in 2006 with owners and founders Tommy and Jeanine Glad having just R50 in their pockets but armed with a real desire to make a difference. However, the future would not be plain sailing, with disaster striking twice. In 2014, their business was destroyed in a fire, which meant they had to start from scratch in new premises.

Two years on and the land they were using was sold from underneath them and they had to begin again once more. But the hardworking couple did not let anything get them down and got back on their feet, their determination playing a huge part in their success today.

With help from Leon van der Watt of Cannibal Recycling, they moved to their current premises in 2016.

Offering advice to would-be entrepreneurs, Tommy Glad said: “If you want to get into recycling, just go out there and do it. Go to the beach, pick up litter. Sort the plastic and try to sell it. That’s what we did.

“My ongoing aim is to continue to educate and inspire the new generation to save the planet one piece of plastic at a time.”

He said the fire had brought him down to earth and refocused his attention in a big way. Glad also paid tribute to his wife who, he said, was the financial brains and “the boss” at Nzima.

“This award means so much to us. It is the biggest thing that has happened to me and my wife. We are working here in this small community. Why would something like this happen to us?”

Nzima Recycling buys in PET from landfill sites and the community of Humansdorp, who they try to help wherever they can. The business started off with an average of nine tonnes of PET in 2017 and currently handles 20 tonnes per month. The Glads employ 14 people, four of whom are women.

Glad said their fourteen years of hard work had certainly paid off. “Thank you to the awesome and passionate staff at Nzima for your great and hard work.”

WATCH: The Nzima Recycling video interview here.