According to Shoprite, Packa-Ching has paid out over R10 million to community members and diverted more than 10 million kilograms of waste from landfills.
Packa-Ching operates mobile units in low-income areas where recycling infrastructure is scarce, incentivising communities to collect and recycle waste.
Packa-Ching weighs recyclable packaging materials, such as plastic, glass, cans, and paper, and instantly pays community members through a cashless eWallet system. These funds can be used at any participating retailer or withdrawn or transferred to anyone in South Africa.
Shoprite explained that Packa-Ching launched its first mobile unit in Langa, Cape Town in August 2017 and has since expanded nationwide.
In a recent development, Packa-Ching launched its 15th unit in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, following an entrepreneur focused model where individuals own and operate each unit.
This program provides income earning opportunities for both community members and waste entrepreneurs.
“Newcastle is a job-scarce area, and we’ve seen the positive impact that our first unit had on our business and the community. As more people see value in recycling, the demand has grown tremendously. We’ve created five permanent jobs with our new unit,” said Phila Dlamini, co-owner of Mpilenhle Packa-Ching in Newcastle.
Packa-Ching, with the participation of the Shoprite Group in the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative, has created more than 57 new jobs since its inception, serving over 80 communities and schools across South Africa.
The YES initiative is a collaborative effort among the government, businesses, and labor to combat youth unemployment by providing job opportunities and skills development.
“We were able to pay the employees and create employment for them through Shoprite’s sponsorship and support when we started the Packa-Ching Mobile buy-back center. They are now able to take care of their families,” said John Mdava, Project Manager of Packa-Ching in Philippi, Cape Town.
Mdava further emphasised that the education provided enhances personal development. It prepares individuals for further opportunities within the waste and recycling industry.
Sanjeev Raghubir, Sustainability Manager of the Shoprite Group, highlighted, “This initiative aligns with Shoprite’s efforts to uplift lives every day through programs that promote sustainable practices and reduce the impact on the environment while providing economic opportunity in vulnerable areas. This circular economy has a positive impact on the environment and communities.”
With the launch of this positive initiative in Newcastle, we invite readers to share their thoughts on the impact of this recycling initiative in the comment section below.