Finding recycling gold in Johannesburg

Finding recycling gold in Johannesburg
01 Apr 2022

Finding recycling gold in Johannesburg

Meet Jerry – one of the waste pickers finding recycling gold on the streets of Jeppestown, Johannesburg.

Jerry has been collecting recyclable materials and selling them to local buy-back centres for the past three years. This hardworking collector says it’s not always an easy way to make money but it is a reliable one.

Sometimes, he says, members of the public unfairly accuse him of opening bags and spreading rubbish on the streets, whereas the real cause is illegal dumping and littering. But, thanks to PETCO’s collection partner, the non-profit Community Bin Project, and PETCO member Safripol, the street litter is contained and recyclables are easier to collect.

Helpful hint: At home, and wherever possible, please help waste pickers like Jerry by separating your recyclables from your food waste – this enables them to get clean recyclable material. as it’s not nice to dig them out.

The Community Bin Project is a non-profit organisation that aims to clean up high-density, low-income communities by putting large, upcycled bins on street corners and educating people about the hazards of illegal dumping. The NPO is entirely dependent on donations and assistance from stakeholders.

Because the bins are larger than standard sidewalk bins, the waste pickers can spend more time in one spot, remove and sort through the contents, take what they can use and return the remainder to the bins.

Between December 2021 and February 2022, the Community Bin Project collected more than 191 cubic metres – or 96 tons – of waste, which would have been illegally dumped on various street corners. Says Antionette Botha: “Our sites are clean and the waste pickers are very happy with them.”

And thanks to a donation from Safripol, many of Jeppestown’s waste pickers now have their own bulk bags for storing and transporting their collected recyclable materials to the buy-back centres.