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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK
A good sign for South African township
Gerry McAfee
Gerry McAfee came up with the idea of using the signs as roofing material
A Northern Ireland estate agent has come up with a novel way of recycling the firm's for sale signs.

McAfee Properties are shipping the boards out to a township in the South African city of Port Alfred where they will be used as roofing tiles.

According to the Ballymoney based company, the heavy-duty plastic signs, which measure 6mm thick, have the double advantage of being weather and rodent proof.

Laid side by side, the signs would cover an area of about two acres, and it is hoped will provide the residents of the Stationhill township with plenty of material for roofing their houses.

Gerry McAfee, principal partner in the company, said he was left with the signs after his company decided to rebrand its advertising.

"I just was very uneasy about putting so much perfectly good plastic in the bin," he said.

"Corrugated plastic is a highly re-usable substance which is totally weather-proof and rodent-proof, it was simply a case of finding other uses for it".

After trying and failing to find a way of recycling the boards in Northern Ireland, Mr McAfee hit upon the idea of re-using his signs as slates.

"Everyone seemed to be telling me that is most cost effective to just dump the old branded signs as there is currently no provision in Northern Ireland to recycle this sort of plastic," he said.

"My involvement with the Feed the Hungry charity, made me think about the other ways in which the signs could possibly be used in another climate."


Gerry has made regular trips to the Stationhill township.

He told the BBC News website, that he first became aware of the plight of those living there when his aunt, who was working as a nun in the township with the Sisters of Assumption, asked him if he could make a donation.

Since then, Mr AcAfee has helped raise funds to purchase a site in the township and is currently working along with community representatives there towards building a nutrition centre.

Although the project is still some way from completion, he explained they hoped that once it was finished, people would be able to use it as a place to collect food parcels and medical supplies.

The company hopes to be able to send the boards out to the Stationhill township within the next few months.

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