Plastics|SA Clean-up Crews keep Cape Town Beautiful during major races

The Plastics|SA Clean-Up Crew was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the routes and surrounding areas for three of Cape Town’s biggest spectator events were kept clean and litter-free.

For the 10th consecutive year, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager, John Kieser, coordinated three clean-up crews to quickly and effectively pick up all waste generated by athletes and spectators who attended the Cape Town Cycle Tour (CTCT) (which was unfortunately cancelled due to high winds), SA Navy Festival which took place from the 17th to the 19th of March and the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half and Ultra Marathons that took place on the 14th and 15th of April respectively.

A feather in the cap for the plastics industry

“These three events took place during March and April, and attracted thousands of visitors from around the country and the rest of the world who descended on the Mother City. It was no small task to ensure that all the water and energy drink sachets used by the athletes and the litter strewn by the spectators were picked up as quickly as possible and with as little disruption to the events or the traffic,” Kieser explained. This year, Plastics|SA was given the full responsibility of greening the events, and once again partnered with waste management company WastePlan to ensure that all recyclable material collected was sent away for recycling.

“Over the years, the active and visible involvement of the Plastics|SA clean-up team and the PETCO branded bins and truck at these events has helped to create an awareness of the plastics industry’s dedication to ensuring that the waste footprint is kept as small as possible,” Kieser said.  Each year, several truckloads of plastic waste are collected and sent away to the Kraaifontein Material Recovering Facility (MRF) for recycling, whilst food waste is sent to Noordhoek for composting.

The unsung heroes of event greening

The majority of the waste collected during these events is plastic waste, which has a high recycling value.  Ensuring that this packaging is kept out of the environment and off the streets, were 205 cleaners employed from Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Athlone, who were trained to quickly and effectively sweep the areas.  The City of Cape Town also played a major role in boosting the clean-up efforts by ensuring that the routes for these annual events were cleaned prior to the race days.

“Both the cycle race and the marathon have various refreshment stations where close to 20 000 bags each are handed out to the athletes. The SA Navy Festival saw up to 50 000 people visiting the harbour per day. On top of this, the weather at these events also played a big role, as the notorious Cape winds present their own set of challenges for the waste collectors,” Kieser said.

Advertising campaign to support the clean-up efforts

Whilst the clean-up crews were busy cleaning the roads, Plastics|SA was supporting their efforts with an extensive marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of keeping our environment clean, spreading anti-littering and recycling messages.

A great deal still needs to be done to educate the public about littering and responsible participation in large events. Our “event greening” not only provides a much-needed service to the City of Cape Town and event organisers, but also offers us a highly visible platform to showcase the Sustainability Council’s commitment to waste management and recycling. To this end, we supported the clean-up efforts with a print ad campaign that appeared in selected in-flight and trade magazines, as well as on a large billboard at the Cape Town International Airport.

Our pay-off line for the campaign was: “When YOU recycle, we all win” and appealed to all the cyclists,athletes and other visitors to Cape Town during the past two months to help keep the Mother City beautiful.

Radio adverts and on-air interviews were heard on local Cape Town radio stations, including KFM, Smile FM, Heart FM, Radio Tygerberg and CCFM during the months of February, March and April, whilst Plastics|SA also exhibited at the Green Point Stadium, the Navy Festival in Simonstown and at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

10 second Event Greening (English)

I can be so much more (English) 

Ek kan soveel meer wees (Afrikaans)

“We are very excited and proud to be part of these events and take the responsibility that has been given to us very seriously.  We aim to improve on previous years’ successes and recycling rates,” Kieser concludes.  John discussed the greening of events on various radio stations such as CCFM and Tygerberg FM.