Since 2010 First Mile has been supporting Small Steps Project – an amazing charity that helps families who live and work on rubbish dumps across the developing world. As a waste and recycling company we are all too aware of how detrimental rubbish dumps are; not only for the environment but also to the health and safety of adults and children alike.
Rubbish dumps and landfill sites in these countries are often a result of illegal waste dumping or poor and cheap waste management. Companies who don’t take responsibility for where their waste goes, may well find that it actually ends up on one of these poisonous waste mountains. And they’re not just an eye-sore, the decomposition of waste generates carbon dioxide and methane, making these sites incredibly toxic.
Yet sadly the associated dangers of these dumps aren’t enough to deter the many families who are forced to rely on them to make a living by salvaging what they can for re-use and resale. And these are the people who Small Steps Project work tirelessly to support.
With numerous projects on rubbish dumps across parts of Africa, Cambodia and Laos, founder Amy Hanson and her Small Steps Project team provide aid and run a number of initiatives to improve the livelihoods of those who rely on these sites. From delivering hygiene kits and shoes to protect the feet of workers, to supplying emergency aid and building nearby education centres and playgrounds for local children, so that in the future they may not have to rely on these dumps to make a living.
Money from the sale of every roll of First Mile recycling sacks supports the Small Steps Project Outreach Programme which is based next to a rubbish dump in Nairobi, Kenya - a huge site of unwieldy waste spanning over 200 acres with 1,000 people relying on it to make a living. The Outreach Programme supports the children whose parents work on the rubbish dump by providing a sanctuary away from the harsh conditions of the dump. The money First Mile donates provides food and fresh water to 150 children aged 2 – 14. It’s also a place where they can wash their hands, brush their teeth, play and learn. Additionally, the programme offers medical care for those in need.
Small Steps Project has a three-part vision which we at First Mile wholeheartedly support:
- Providing all children and families who live or work on municipal rubbish dumps and landfill sites with shoes and aid that will enable them to take small steps out of poverty.
- Linking with locally established NGOs to cement a network of all projects to working to improve the wellbeing of children living and working on landfills or scavenging for survival.
- Improving global awareness of international waste systems and the human rights violations encountered by waste scavengers, through documentary films.
First Mile is a zero-to-landfill business, and we urge other businesses and councils to take more responsibility for where their waste goes, because if they don’t use ethical and sustainable suppliers, all too often they are contributing to dumps like these.