Victoria Falls Recycling, launched by hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism a year ago, has received international recognition, winning an award at leading travel show We Are Africa in Cape Town, last week.
The We are Africa Innovation Awards celebrate the best in independently minded, brilliantly executed travel ideas, and Victoria Falls Recycling won the Engage Africa award, which recognizes community collaboration to build a more united Africa.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said: “Recognition of projects such as Victoria Falls Recycling by industry peers and independent judges always enhances the accolade and pride for the dedicated people involved.
“Conservationist Charlene Hewat, the driving force behind the project, together with AAT group operations manager Andy Conn and the Victoria Falls Recycling team, deserve huge praise for their unrelenting efforts,” Kennedy said.
“The next stage is to build a new recycling center on land provided by Victoria Falls Municipality, where a retail outlet will also be set up, to sell products created from recycled waste.
“We are immensely proud to be involved in the founding, funding and operation of Victoria Falls Recycling,” he said.
Since Victoria Falls Recycling was launched in March last year by AAT in partnership with Greenline Africa, Victoria Falls Municipality and PetrecoZim, it has collected and baled more than 24 tonnes of waste – paper, plastics, glass, kaylite, cans, and packaging – for recycling.
Hewat, who is the project coordinator, said this waste would otherwise have ended up in the dumpsite, rivers and wilderness areas in and around Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s top tourist destination, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
“Victoria Falls does not have a proper landfill site at the moment and therefore it is critical that we harvest and collect as much recyclable product as possible before it reaches the dumpsite,” Hewat said.
“Collection at source is the focus of the project, and we started off with hotels, lodges, and restaurants, and will move to household collection mid-2019,” she said.
Victoria Falls Recycling, which is the only recycling center in the region, employs a team of three young people and works with locals who collect waste and are paid per kilogram.
This is the third award Victoria Falls Recycling has won since it was launched. It won the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents’ Industry Environment Award in September 2018, and in November 2018 AAT was named Recycling Champion of the Year by the Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zimbabwe.
AAT operates a portfolio of properties in Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites, Lokuthula Lodges – Victoria Falls and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show, as well as Ngoma Safari Lodge in Chobe, Botswana.