Port Elizabeth-born Sam Smout has been at Green Cape for about two years, a nonprofit organisation established in 2010 and funded by the Western Cape government that aims to create a green economy in the Western Cape by reducing the city’s carbon footprint.
His work is primarily centred around promoting the diversion of thousands of tonnes of waste away from landfills, ensuring that green businesses connect and build good relationships in the waste sector, and remaining a source of knowledge on how businesses can continue to support one another.
Smout believes waste consciousness still needs to be better understood and promoted by South Africans, as from a public perspective, it is still rooted in convenience rather than an environmental and a biological necessity that we all have a social responsibility to prioritise.
He shares these sentiments when it comes to the private sector as well. Profit in that space continues to be the main driver of waste consciousness; if it is cheaper for an organisation to send waste to landfills they will often utilise that option instead of considering and committing to alternative waste management strategies.
Smout is passionate about the environment and ensuring that waste is seen as a resource and shifting the ways that society thinks about managing its consumption.
To Smout, being a young person in South Africa in 2018 comes with a number of challenges and opportunities, such as being able to dedicate one’s life to making a difference in incremental ways, and also being able to exist in an era where technology and new discoveries are shaping our future as we speak.
“People are going to Mars, and I am interested in what the powerhouses of the future in Africa and the world will look like. This is an exciting time to be alive.” — Nomonde Ndwalaza