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UK-based NGO is giving two South African waste entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their businesses through Zero Waste Challenge.


South Africa (10 May 2021) – The Zero Waste Cities Challenge hosted by UK-based NGO WasteAid has been launched in South Africa and two lucky South African waste entrepreneurs could find themselves the winners of a €10,000 (approx R170,000 at time of writing) cash prize and business support.

WasteAid, a UK based international NGO, has launched the Zero Waste Cities Challenge to find entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that help reduce or recycle waste and create green employment opportunities. The competition is part of WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network funded by Huhtamaki, which is running events across three cities: Johannesburg in South Africa, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and Guwahati in India.

Two winners in each city will be awarded €10,000 and business mentoring support to help make their idea a reality.

“We are really excited to launch this competition in Johannesburg today. There are already some fantastic examples of the circular economy in the city. We hope that through the Circular Economy Network activities, and in particular the Zero Waste Cities Challenge, we can help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality.” – Michelle Wilson, WasteAid Circular Economy Network Director

Currently, only a fraction of waste generated in Johannesburg is recycled, and the remaining waste ends up at landfill or littered in the environment. WasteAid believes that local innovations hold the key to a green economy and can make the environment cleaner and healthier for the city’s population.

WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network is funded by Huhtamaki, a key global provider of sustainable packaging solutions, headquartered in Finland, with one of its 81 production facilities in Ekurhuleni, East of Johannesburg.

“Huhtamaki is proud to support this initiative which will help fast track local solutions to the circular economy. This initiative complements our own efforts to design for circularity and embed sustainability in everything that we do, both in our local communities and across our global enterprise.” – Thomasine Kamerling, EVP Sustainability and Communications at Huhtamaki

WasteAid has already successfully run its first partner event in Johannesburg, which focused on the recovery of food from supplier markets, diverting these from landfill. The event enabled the recovery of one tonne of food waste that was then turned into over 1,000 nutritious meals for the surrounding community. The small portion of food waste that resulted from this process was then further integrated into the circular economy through composting with the help of the partnering organisations.

“Building a more circular economy takes many different people and businesses. The level of interest in our activities has been very high and we look forward to running more events, as well as this competition, to identify and support innovative ideas for the city.” – Angela Ludek, WasteAid’s Johannesburg-based project manager

The Zero Waste Cities Challenge will run over a period of six months. The application process is open until the 19th June 2021. In July 12 semi-finalists will be selected and will receive intensive business support to hone their idea and create a pitch. The final round will involve pitching at a Shark Tank event in front of a panel of industry experts. These panellists will then select the final two winners. Awards are likely to be made in October 2021.

If you know a waste entrepreneur or know of one, share this article and enter via the Circular Economy Network website here.

Sources: WasteAid – Press Release
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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