No wasted opportunities

No wasted opportunities
25 Feb 2022

No wasted opportunities

Unemployed youth in Mpumalanga are learning how to start and sustain their own recycling businesses as part of a development programme, which is supported by PETCO, local businesses, the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), and various local municipalities.

Established in 2019, the programme has grown from just four projects to 14 across various districts, with the energetic young members making great strides in combating pollution, littering and illegal dumping in their communities.

After removing the waste from their environment, the team members then sort it into recyclable materials, which can be sold to recyclers or buy-back centres, and non-recyclable materials, which the municipal partners take to landfill. The teams, which are run as recycling cooperatives, generate income from the sale of recyclable materials, and the individual participants each receive a stipend from DARDLEA.

One of the teams, which employs 18 people, collected and sold an impressive 52 tonnes of PET plastic bottles last year alone. (Two of the projects have even been nominated for the 2022 PETCO Awards.)

To facilitate future growth and success, participants also attend workshops where they learn a range of skills required for successful waste and business management.

PETCO has supported the programme with the sponsorship of a converted shipping container lock-up facility and bulk storage bags.