Nestlé 'Food For Cleanliness' Campaign
Sunday the 18th of May through Thursday the 22nd marked the start of the preparation of Nestlé’s Food for Cleanliness initiative, through a series of training sessions conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs on Sunday and Monday. The trainings covered a wide range of topics, from a broad overview of the nationwide waste-management system, to the specific system to be implemented within ‘Ezbet Khairallah, in addition to basic communication skills and cultural sensitivity orientation, and last but not least the active role that the volunteers have in the success of the initiative. Some thirty volunteers from Khair we Baraka, Rouh El Shabab, and ‘Ez El Shabab NGOs were in attendance.
After the two-day training sessions, volunteers went down to exactly 1200 households, big and small, inside apartment buildings and standalone buildings. They explained briefly to each household the benefits of waste segregation – and the harms of not doing so. Separating your waste into organic and non-organic piles adds to the value chain considerably. First of all, it both cuts down on the time plus effort that waste collectors take to sort the waste, and makes it a significantly more humane profession to work in – creating many desperately needed job opportunities. Also, since most organic refuse is recycled as cropfertilizer, any non-organic elements in the refuse are rarely dealt with and pose health concerns – from the cadmium in newspaper ink, to the aluminum in soft drink cans, to the plastic bags, each causes unnecessary health issues
Most households were very eager from the start to participate in the initiative, and learn more about it. In fact, several families would point out that waste sorting is already ingrained as a tradition in many of their homes; Egyptians rarely want to waste any sort of food, preferring to collect food scraps as fodder for domestically raised produce, such as chickens and rabbits. The families were also extremely happy with Nestlé’s nutritious offerings – even if they were more than happy to hear of our pledge to collect their waste for the next six months free of charge. If this week is anything to go by, we are very optimistic about the success of the program, and hope that it is adopted by other responsible members of the Egyptian business community.