Turning waste into profit: Chevening Alumni St Helena

Chevening Alumni in St Helena received funding through the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund to raise awareness in their community for the increasing need to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our environment. They share their experience and the success of their local project.

Through their 2023-2024 CAPF project ‘Turning our Waste into Profit’, the Chevening Alumni of St Helena partnered with a number of stakeholders including the St Helena National Trust, the New Horizon’s Youth Club, the Environmental Waste Management Division and local schools to deliver activities on various topics such as saving our oceans through reducing plastic pollution, restoring forests through tree planting, and managing our waste effectively.

The project proved useful in assisting local government efforts to obtain wider outreach on elements of their waste management strategy. Being a small remote island with limited resources, the majority of waste is landfilled. This project highlighted the issues faced by the Waste Management Division, including the pressures on the landfill site and its finite lifespan. It advocated strongly for the community to be more mindful of how they dispose of their waste and strongly encouraged use of the new recycling facilities to prolong the lifespan of the landfill. The project was twofold, since it also encouraged businesses to explore generating a small industry through repurposing and upcycling waste to create economic benefit.

The biggest alumni event, a ‘Create and Innovate Sustainability Fair’ in October 2023 was held in close proximity to the waste landfill site and provided firsthand information to the public on the landfill facilities. Guided tours gave people an on the ground view of operations which included composting, cardboard, and tin and can recycling.

This event generated lots of positive feedback locally and abroad. One comment received via the alumni’s social media platform stated:

‘It’s amazing how an island so similar to ours, with more people living on it can have a dump so tidy and recycle almost everything. One day soon, I hope ours will be at this standard.’

The fair also brought together individuals and organisations who are currently reusing and upcycling waste to showcase their products, share ideas and encourage others to take up similar ventures.

As one of the project’s objectives, the alumni commissioned a video to share the efforts of two local ‘recyling heroes’ and to provide an insight into the challenges of managing waste on a small island. Through their social media channels they continue to advocate for a more collective effort from the community in support of government led green initiatives.

Watch ‘Chevening Alumni St Helena – Turning Our Waste Into Profit’.

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