SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town gets a second mobile waste recycling unit

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SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town gets a second mobile waste recycling unit ©Packa-Ching

A second mobile waste buy-back center is being set up in Cape Town, South Africa. The "Packa-Ching" unit, designed by Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation (POLYCO), is financially supported by the Shoprite supermarket chain, and aims to reduce plastic pollution in the streets of this southern African country.

It is an initiative that has already collected over 3.8 million kilograms of recyclable waste in South Africa. Through “Packa-Ching”, garbage is transported to appropriate recycling units.  Communities provide their waste in exchange for “kilorands”, which are paid for directly on their cell phones and can then be used at selected outlets.

After having tested the first “Packa-Ching” unit in the localities of Langa, Phillipi and Mitchells Plain, the second one has just been launched in Blackheath, a suburb of Cape Town. The scheme in the South African capital will purchase recyclable packaging materials (plastic, glass, cans and paper) from surrounding communities, including the municipalities of Delft and Stellenbosch.

According to Megan Swart, Packa-Ching’s director of operations, more than $3 million has already been donated to 79 communities and schools in South Africa to encourage people to be environmentally responsible in reducing plastic pollution. This system is funded by the South African chemical giant Sasol and the supermarket chain Shoprite.

A drastic reduction of plastic pollution

According to Sanjeev Raghubir, Head of Sustainability at South Africa’s Shoprite Group, this innovative community recycling collection initiative dramatically reduces waste volumes and facilitates a circular economy through recycling, while creating jobs and an income opportunity for the people who bring their recyclable materials to Packa-Ching. Shoprite supports eight other Packa-Ching redemption centers in South Africa including Buffalo City, Newcastle and Cape Town.

Read also-SOUTH AFRICA: a factory will recycle electronic waste in Gauteng

Cape Town is one of the cities in South Africa most affected by plastic pollution, mainly due to large-scale industrial activities. In this context, six companies and organizations signed the South African Plastic Pact in 2020 under the auspices of the local branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-SA), in partnership with the South African Plastic Recycling Organization (SAPRO). The text aims to reduce plastic waste in nature.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi 

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