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My Walk initiative: Enterprise development and job creation opportunities generated by recycling healthcare waste

The process of turning uncontaminated PVC healthcare waste into school shoes

Wednesday, February 5 2020

The process of turning uncontaminated PVC healthcare waste into school shoes not only creates value for the learners who will receive a brand new pair of shoes, it also creates a new value chain that unlocks economic opportunities and contributes to skills development and job creation.

“The innovations that are emerging as part of Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care’s My Walk initiative and the efforts to increase the scale of the project are showing great promise in assisting emerging businesses to develop, which in turn, will contribute to job creation,” says Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, Netcare’s director: transformation.

Southern Basadi is the first enterprise development partner to benefit from the My Walk initiative. This small enterprise received assistance in the purchasing of a light delivery vehicle and customised trailer that will be used for the sorting and collection of uncontaminated used PVC drip bags, oxygen masks and associated tubing from participating Netcare hospitals.

Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare, with a pair of shiny new school shoes made from recycled uncontaminated PVC drip bags, oxygen masks and associated tubing through the My Walk initiative. The shoes themselves are also fully recyclable.
Excited Grade 2 learners at Chivirikani Primary School wasted no time in trying on their new shoes at the launch of the My Walk initiative. Learners at the school, some 1 300 in total, were the first to receive brand new shoes made from recycled uncontaminated PVC IV drip bags through Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care's My Walk initiative.
Adcock Ingram Critical Care (AICC) and Netcare representatives were thrilled to hand over brand new school shoes made from recycled uncontaminated PVC IV drip bags, and to engage with learners at Chivirikani Primary School at the launch of the companies' My Walk initiative. From left to right were Mr Colin Sheen, MD of AICC; Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, director transformation at Netcare; Dr Claudia Manning, member of the Adcock Ingram board and chairperson of the board's social, ethics and transformation committee; and Advocate Kgomotso Moroka, a non-executive Netcare board member and chairperson of the board's social and ethics committee.

 

“The My Walk initiative requires a waste service provider dedicated to the collection of the PVC products earmarked for recycling from the participating Netcare hospitals’ premises. Southern Basadi began operating in 2014 as a small-scale business that provided grass cutting and recycling services as part of the Jozi@Work programme. Having registered on the City of Joburg’s supplier database as part of the programme, this women-led company was identified as a potential enterprise development partner and this paved the way for their business’ selection as a My Walk partner, and we are proud to see them grow and mature with the My Walk initiative,” he explains.

Netcare’s enterprise development team assisted Southern Basadi to obtain the relevant licenses and registrations required by the Department of Environmental Affairs and, together with the My Walk staff, provides on-going support to develop its business processes and nurture its growth.

To date, My Walk, under the leadership of Delanie Bezuidenhout as its general manager, has trained more than 3 500 Netare staff members at participating hospitals. Training focuses on the correct procedures for separating the non-hazardous and uncontaminated, recyclable PVC drip bags, masks and tubing from other types of waste at point of generation, and to then dispose of these items in specially marked My Walk containers, ready for collection by Southern Basadi.

Southern Basadi uses their custom built sorting trailer to ensure that no contaminated material leaves the healthcare facility.  The collected material is then transported and delivered to the My Walk factory where it is washed, granulated into smaller pieces, melted at high temperature, then mixed with additives to achieve a black colouring and extruded into pellets. The pellets are then processed in shoe-making equipment to produce brand new, fully recycled, waterproof and shiny new school shoes within minutes. Shoe laces are added and the shoes are packaged, ready for distribution to learners in need.

Delores MacKenzie, one of the directors of Southern Basadi, says that the support from Netcare and Adock Ingram Critical Care through the My Walk initiative has been invaluable to their business.

Off with the old and on with the new school shoes! Sharing the moment with two learners from Chivirikani Primary School were, from left, Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare; Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, director transformation at Netcare; Ms Delanie Bezuidenhout, general manager: My Walk; and Mr Colin Sheen, MD of Adcock Ingram Critical Care. Through the My Walk initiative, over 25 000 learners will receive brand new shoes made from recycled uncontaminated PVC IV drip bags this year, so that they don't have to go to school barefoot or with shoes that are not fit for purpose.
Ms Delanie Bezuidenhout, general manager: My Walk – an innovative, joint initiative by Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care – and one of the Grade 2 learners at Chivirikani Primary School who couldn't wait to put on her new shoes.

 

“The hospitals reimburse us for the waste management service we provide to them, and we then further build our revenue by selling the recovered PVC to the recycling plant. It has been a steep learning curve, but our company has created eight additional jobs to date and the experience we have gained is helping us plan for expansion in the future.

“It is extremely motivating to be part of this very worthy initiative. Knowing that our work is helping to provide school shoes for disadvantaged and vulnerable learners is particularly rewarding. We are working hard to create our own destiny, and we hope that we will be able to grow the number of people we employ as this project expands in the years to come,” MacKenzie adds.  

Dr Ndzwayiba says that with the volume of Netcare’s recyclable PVC material projected to increase to 55 tons in 2023, from 19 tons in 2019, more opportunities for enterprise development and job creation will open up as the project matures.

The My Walk Board of Trustees recently took a decision to insource the pelletising and shoe manufacturing processes for a period of 12 to 18 months, with the view of growing the business till it stabilises and reaches maturity; and later look for, and sell it to, a suitable emerging enterprise development partner as a going concern.

“We see great potential for more entrepreneurs and small black businesses, in particular, to become part of the My Walk value chain in time and develop their businesses to create more job opportunities. The My Walk initiative’s impact goes far beyond the learners who will benefit from the school shoes they receive; it is helping to create a more sustainable future with more economic opportunities,” he concludes.

Ends

Issued by:   MNA on behalf of Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Graeme Swinney or Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, or estene@mnapr.co.za

 

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