Collector Inclusion


PETCO strategically supports initiatives and activities that do not necessarily contribute substantially to the volumes of PET recycled, but that aid in the support of visible and informal collection of PET.

Our strategy within this area of work is to identify the provinces where we have a relatively smaller footprint of support, and to expand our support within these areas specifically. Through the ongoing mapping of projects that we have supported in the past and where training has been conducted, we ensure we are continuously expanding our network throughout South Africa.

Collectors do not have to be a member of PETCO in order to start recycling or apply for sponsorship of equipment and protective clothing, or to be able to attend training. Download the PETCO Collections and Training Support application form here.

If you are looking to start recycling or to start a recycling business, click here

If you are a collector looking for a buy-back centre/drop-off site, click here.

Our implementation strategy follows this process:

  1. Identify the province.
  2. Establish partnerships with the relevant local municipal and provincial government bodies, local departments for environment, tourism and economics, the nationalDepartment of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), and any other relevant organisations.
  3. Ensure that work is aligned with the relevant provincial Integrated Waste Management Plan.
  4. Organise workshops in partnership with relevant authorities and organisations for informal reclaimers.
  5. Identify approximately 50 informal reclaimers who attended the workshop and are already collecting or have their own businesses.
  6. Organise accredited training for identified informal reclaimers.
  7. Evaluate what support may be required to assist informal reclaimers with equipment and in making their business sustainable.
  8. Provide on-going monitoring and support throughout this process and beyond.

PETCO supports visible collection in the following ways:

PET Infrastructure and Equipment Provision
PETCO supports projects through the sponsorship of infrastructure and equipment that unlock collections, helping informal reclaimers to improve their efficiencies as well as the quantity and quality of PET collected.

We also assist with the efficient transportation of baled material. This support – in the form of trolleys, bulk bags, personal protective equipment (PPE), baling machines and other items – is given to individual informal reclaimers, SMMEs, cooperatives and community-based organisations.

Informal Collector Training and Development
In partnership with municipalities and other organisations, PETCO empowers informal reclaimers through training and mentoring in entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

By supporting the informal sector, PETCO and its partner organisations are encouraging a fairer position in the value chain for reclaimers, which legitimises their occupation. This includes ownership of productive initiatives to allow for more equitable distribution of profits – a key demand of informal reclaimers worldwide.

PETCO also identifies with the need to raise awareness in communities and to strengthen relationships with municipalities to encourage the establishment of kerbside collection projects and expand existing PET collection into new areas.


PETCO also identifies with the need to raise awareness in communities and to strengthen relationships with municipalities to encourage the establishment of kerbside collection projects and expand existing PET collection into new areas.

Education and Awareness
The PETCO team completes Poverty Stoplight surveys before any support is allocated (either through training or equipment) to create a baseline from which the impact of the support can be measured.

The tool uses a technology platform with a self-assessment survey and intervention model that enables families, individuals or businesses (FIB) to (1) produce a map with details of their poverty and to (2) develop practical solutionsto meet their specific needs. FIBs select images (categorised as red, yellow or green, like a traffic light) that resemble their reality for each poverty indicator. Out of all indicators marked red or yellow, they then select those that they would like to improve first.

Project Up

PETCO, is driving the rollout of the BanQu technology in a project called Up, which commenced in 2021 and is funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation.

The project will see the roll-out of the innovative BanQu technology to  recycling buy-back centres across the country. The digital platform will help buy-back centres accurately record and track their recycling transactions with waste pickers – as well as trace the origins of the recycling – while providing a real-time business management tool enabling them to better understand and manage their businesses.

Once registered on the BanQu system, the buy-back centres can capture the quantity of recyclable material bought from waste pickers, as well as the price paid for it and where it was collected. This allows buy-back centres to know the quantity of all materials within their centres at any given time. The waste pickers, in turn, receive an SMS receipt for each transaction and can keep track digitally of their income earned through sales to various buy-back centres, allowing them to keep track of what they’ve sold and are able to compare their transactions weekly or monthly.

To read more about the project, click here

Special Projects and Joint Ventures
PETCO partners regularly with Members to support collection and recycling projects, all around the country, with equipment. These projects are identified in close partnership with our members to meet our recycling objectives and their sustainability and CSI goals.