Packa-Ching is a Polyco initiative, sponsored by Shoprite and Sasol, that collects separated recyclable waste at source. It develops small businesses that collect and recycle packaging from low-income and informal areas — areas that often have little to no recycling infrastructure or education. So far, Packa-Ching has paid out more than R3-million to Packa-Ching users and diverted more than 3.8-million kilograms of waste from landfills — statistics that fill operations manager Megan Swart with pride.
The initiative is a mobile truck-and-trailer solution that brings recycling infrastructure to people’s doorsteps, while educating communities about waste management and recycling.
Only about 5% of South Africans recycle, leaving 95% of waste to go to landfills or lying on the streets. The lack of recycling infrastructure, education around recycling and the incentive to make an effort is at the heart of the problem. And Packa-Ching provides a solution to each of these problems.
Swart recalls an occasion when an elderly woman told her that she was begging on the streets before she joined the initiative. Today, she sells enough recycling to put food on the table for her four grandchildren.
“My work can give community members a dignified income. I try to be the change I want to see in the world,” she says.
This initiative has had a big impact across the country, changing lives in low-income communities. It helps alleviate poverty by contributing to enterprise development and a cleaner environment.
Swart’s team is working hard to expand the project across South Africa to 25 mobile and pop-up units. For her, working with communities brings a sense of belonging.
“This work is more than increasing revenue for the people at the top. It makes a real difference.”
Packa-Ching provides recycling infrastructure on people’s doorsteps, while educating communities about waste management and recycling. www.packaching.co.za