Langa residents turn trash into cash | Infrastructure news

Langa resident with PACKA-CHING card

A Langa resident proudly displays her Kilorands Card from the PACKA-CHING initiative

Residents of Langa in Cape Town are cashing in with the recently launched PACKA-CHING project.

Within four days of the launch, locals delivered 5.2 tonnes of glass, 1.9 tonnes of paper,1 tonne of plastic and 295 kilograms of cans to the PACKA-CHING mobile buy-back service in their area and, in exchange, received R 5 403.32.

Spearheaded by Polyco and funded by its members, the PACKA-CHING project is being piloted in Langa and was launched on Monday the 21st of August 2017.

Its goal is to divert at least 750 tonnes of packaging waste from landfill by increasing recycling within selected informal settlements and lower-income areas around Cape Town and Johannesburg. At the same time, the initiative’s intention is to uplift the lives of local residents by enabling them to benefit financially.

How it works

According to Brooke Kühne, PACKA-CHING Project Co-ordinator, the recycling trailer visits designated areas on specific days of the week to collect recyclable plastic, paper, metal cans and glass that has been collected and separated by community members.

In exchange for these materials, they are rewarded with an amount of money determined by the current market price of each material type.

The money is loaded onto their Kilorands CardTM (a special debit card) and can be spent at any shop that accepts MasterCard.

By incentivising and encouraging community members to recycle and reduce waste pollution, we aim to positively change behaviour and shift the way in which people perceive recyclable packaging, in order to show them that waste has value.

“Furthermore, we run a community fund in each area where the PACKA-CHING project operates. For every kilogram of recyclable material that is brought in, a fixed amount per kilogram of material type will be allocated to the fund. The accumulated value will be donated to a worthy project within each community, identified by the residents themselves,” adds Kühne.

Mandy Naudé, Chief Executive Officer at Polyco says “We are thrilled that over 8.5 tonnes of waste – that would otherwise have littered Langa or ended up in landfills – was collected in under a week and we can’t wait to see what will be achieved by the end of the year-long pilot project.

“We are perhaps even more excited about the feedback from the community and seeing first-hand how the project is changing their perceptions of recycling and positively impacting their lives.”

Plans are in place to roll the PACKA-CHING project out in Kya Sands and the surrounding communities in Johannesburg early next year.

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