Everyone who recycles aluminium drinks cans in the Epping Forest District is helping grow fruit trees in Malawi. Latest figures show that in the past year residents have contributed to growing 81 grafted orange trees for families in rural Malawi and the more cans that are recycled, the more fruit trees will be grown.
The tree nurseries are run by local garden clubs and schools, which have been growing guava and pawpaw as well as the local lemon rootstock used for grafting the improved fruit species – a new introduction to the area.
The first grafted trees have now been produced by trainees learning their new horticultural skills at the project and are being cared for both at Ripple Africa`s base on the shores of Lake Malawi, where they will be subject to trials for disease and drought resistance and at the garden club nurseries.
As well as providing a greenhouse, training and materials, Alupro is making sure that a fruit tree is grown to maturity for every tonne of aluminium recycled in the UK. This is to encourage everyone to recycle, by demonstrating how saving energy through recycling is linked to environmental challenges in Africa. Recycling aluminium is 20 times more efficient than making it from the raw material bauxite.
Councillor Mary Sartin Portfolio Holder for Environment said: We are delighted that after just one year, recyclers in Epping Forest have been responsible for giving 81 fruit trees to the project, so I would urge everyone to make sure that they always recycle their drinks cans to help build a sustainable future in Malawi. Recyclers across the UK will give around 48,000 fruit trees this year. Many of the trees will be grown by individual families (improving their nutrition) and in community orchards which will provide opportunities for trade. The project also seeks to identify budding entrepreneurs who will be interested in developing small businesses to dry and juice fruits and create jobs. In these cases it is hoped that the business experience offered by the project will help ensure that the right decisions are made, small loans are available and successful initiatives established.
On top of all this is the environmental gain of growing so many valuable trees in an area suffering severe deforestation. Ripple is also growing fast-growing trees at the nurseries so they can be coppiced for firewood, which is one of the major reasons trees are felled.