A pilot facility of South Africa’s first innovative self-sufficient laundromat, “LaundReCycle,” was launched on Friday, January 29 in Cape Town CBD, as part of a 3-year research project conducted by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and Water Rescue in Paarl.

This is a worldwide first at the well-known Streetscapes Urban Farm, a non-profit organisation helping the homeless in Cape Town.

The Deputy Ambassador of Switzerland visited Streetscapes Urban Farm together with city representatives in the scope of the soft launch, as an appraisal towards the valuable cooperation between Switzerland and South Africa. Streetscapes, a Cape Town project of Khulisa well into its sixth year of operation tackles chronic homelessness, combined with substance misuse and mental health issues.

“The technology in the LaundReCycle is based on a natural and resource-efficient water treatment process, using biological treatment methods. The innovation lies in the fact that the treated water is constantly reused for washing in a closed cycle. Water losses are filled up by rainwater and the whole system is powered by off-grid solar power”, says LaundReCycle project manager Devi Bühler from Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

“Furthermore”, she adds, “Streetscapes Urban Farm is the ideal place to test this innovation with real users, allowing us to work closely with the community to understand their needs and requirements to finally develop a marketable solution.”

Streetscapes offer long-term community-based rehabilitation that uniquely combines housing, work, and necessary psychosocial supports.

Project manager and founder of Streetscapes, Jesse Laitinen, says “By offering a laundry service and drying space in the Roeland Garden, we continue promoting green sustainable jobs for the most marginalized individual ensuring nobody in Cape Town is left behind.

“Zurich University of Applied Sciences has invested in Khulisa Social Solutions Streetscapes’ project to test the pilot facility with real users and customers in order to further develop a marketable solution that can provide laundry services in rural or urban locations that do not have direct power, fresh or wastewater connection.”

Streetscapes will broaden its activities in the Urban Farm not only by offering laundry services but also by opening a nursery, organic vegetable sale stand and offering a cold drink or coffee to its customers, while they are waiting for their laundry and enjoying the lush garden in the centre of the city.

“Ultimately, we aim to become a social space where locals and tourists can visit the Urban Farm and learn about green technologies as well as our community-based rehabilitation program,”  says Johann du Bois, social enterprise and operations manager at Khulisa Streetscapes.

Khulisa is a 23-year-old NGO that has operated nationally in all sectors of society and constantly strived through innovative methodologies to promote social and economic inclusivity for some of the most marginalised sectors of our society, the homeless being just one example of ‘those most left behind.’

For further information contact: Johann du Bois Mostert Email [email protected] Telephone number (083) 555-6042

The Streetscapes Urban Farm is located on Roeland Street, Cape Town, adjacent to the Fruit and Veg City. They are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm, for organic vegetable sales. They also stock a variety of compost, mulch and manure for gardening or farming purposes. Residents are invited to visit them and have a look, say hi and learn more.

Pictures: Supplied

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