The Wolwedans BottleBrick Initiative

Recycling is the processing of waste materials into new useful products to reduce pollution. Hence, as a member of the Recycle Forum Namibia, we are committed to finding creative and innovative ways to draw attention to Namibia’s waste collection and waste reduction methods.


Since 2014, Wolwedans has collected empty plastic water bottles from its lodges and camps – storing them at our base camp to avoid dumping them at our landfill sites. In 2017, we embarked on the Wolwedans Bottle Brick Initiative, led by the Wolwedans Foundation, with the aim of reducing, re-using and minimising our overall contribution to landfill sites, while positively managing our waste and simultaneously cutting down on building material expenses in the construction of our staff and Wolwedans Desert Academy Trainee accommodations at our base camp village in the NamibRand Nature Reserve.


As a founding GER certified member of The Long Run, we acclaim conservation (of the 4C’s) as a priority in our business model which carefully balances people, planet and profit when making business decisions. In this regard, we have highlighted building material’s and construction methods as a way to show our commitment and make a tangible impact.


By substituting bricks with dune sand-filled water bottles in the building process, we don’t only reduce our carbon footprint through transportation of building material, we also cut down on costs, thereby being able to redirect these funds into other areas of our business. We have thus limited our use of single-use plastic drastically since we stopped purchasing still water bottles and have further contributed to minimising our impact on the countries landfill sites by re-using the plastic in this way.


Guests are offered aluminium water bottles for their water consumption during their stay at Wolwedans and have the opportunity to purchase these for a nominal fee from our base camp curio shop. In addition, our bore-hole water which has been filtered by the earth for thousands of years is of the cleanest in the world and is offered all over Wolwedans as a cost-free, zero-carbon substitute and healthy alternative for our team, trainees and guests.


The Namibian Government supports all forms of recycling and re-using – having banned the use of plastic bags at all national parks across the country – taking its lead from Kenya who have banned the manufacture, use and sale of plastic bags since 2018. It has also drafted the Pollution and Waste Management Bill, while the Environmental Management Act of 2007 regulates waste-disposal sites. Itls been projected that Namibia’s landfill sites will reach capacity as early as 2020 if alternative solutions, waste reduction methods or additional sites can’t be found.

The Wolwedans Foundation supports UNEA’s #CleanSeas campaign, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals a plastic free Namibia.



· It takes 3 litre’s of water to make a 1 litre water bottle and over 17 million barrels of oil are used annually to produce single-use plastic water bottles in the US alone?

· The industry produces 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually and sales increase by 10% every year!

· In 2016, world plastic production totalled around 335 million metric tons. Sadly, roughly half of annual plastic production is destined for single-use products?

· Human beings acquire about 1 million plastic bottles per minute in total. Only 23% of plastic bottles are recycled in most 1st world countries.

· A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans, the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. This is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and 4 per minute by 2050. If this trend continues, this could mean that by 250 there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans!


At the Wolwedans Foundation, we strive to be the change that we want to see in our communities and in the way we do business. By consistently addressing our practices and actions in conservation management, community participation, commercial prudence and cultural awareness, we know that our sustainability practices are affecting the bigger picture in an important way and benefiting our environment for the long run.


The Foundation is non-profit organisation that welcomes support from industries and individuals to support its efforts to minimise negative environmental impacts, promote sustainable practices and contribute long-term benefits to margenalised communities through education and grassroots transformations. Contact our sustainability coordinator at Wolwedans for more information on our Wolwedans Bottle Brick Initiative.


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