The 2022 PETCO Awards are now open for nominations!

The 2022 PETCO Awards are now open for nominations!
13 Dec 2021

The 2022 PETCO Awards are now open for nominations!

The PETCO Awards is the premier national environmental awards initiative in South Africa, recognising excellence in reuse, recycling and waste minimisation among businesses, organisations, community groups and individuals within the South African plastic industry. Winners are recognised for embracing Extended Producer Responsibility, contributing to driving plastic recycling and reflecting the principles of sustainability, the Circular Economy, SMME development, and the advancement of women in the value chain.

We are planning to present the PETCO Awards as part of our next AGM (June 2022; specific date and time to be confirmed based on COVID-19 regulations). Subscribe to the PETCO newsletter to receive further updates.

The PETCO Awards are free to enter, and we welcome entries from both small and large organisations, businesses, community groups and individuals all over South Africa.

The deadline for submission of nominations is Friday 4 February 2022, 5pm.

Please motivate your nomination comprehensively – this is of great help as often more than one nomination per category is received.


Please submit the following to

  1. Completed nomination form (download the nomination form here: Word or PDF);
  2. Supporting documentation (no more than 5 pages).
  3. Download the list of categories here


1. Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative

About the award: This category looks to recognise initiatives led by organisations or individuals that stimulate innovative ideas that increase recycling and waste management, and those public-facing campaigns that have successfully addressed a recycling challenge (e.g. such as waste and the waste hierarchy, anti-littering awareness, reducing reliance on landfill, increasing plastic recycling, boosting reuse, or reducing waste-generating behaviour specifically amongst South African consumers).

Who should enter: Any private, corporate or government organisation within the South African waste or recycling sectors that can demonstrate the successful implementation of a public-facing campaign e.g. in schools to reduce waste-generating behaviour.

2. Best Community Recycling Initiative

About the award: This category recognises an individual or organisation whose ingenuity and perseverance have created and sustained successful business ventures or community projects in the PET collection or recycling industry that directly benefit and uplift the communities within which they operate.

Who should enter: Any community group initiatives or individuals who are involved in community recycling projects that can demonstrate how they have raised awareness in their communities via ventures such as reuse, recycling, waste minimisation, educational talks and other recycling projects and, as such, have directly enriched their community.

3. Design for Circularity

About the award: This category celebrates products that exemplify the best of sustainability and have been designed with careful consideration of resources in mind. As such, those products that incorporate recycled PET content, or who have improved the products’ compatibility with recycling infrastructure in South Africa will be considered. Factors such as reusability, end-of-life solutions, waste minimisation, closed loop processes etc. will be taken into account. This category not only recognises PET products themselves, but looks for innovations when it comes to closures and labels.

Who should enter: Brand owners, retailers, manufacturers, converters and product designers that display high levels of innovation and expertise in addressing the technical and manufacturing challenges associated with the responsible design of PET products, and their associated labels and closures e.g.  increasing the percentage of recycled PET resin included in the products that they design and/or manufacture or who have made specific changes to improve the circularity of their product e.g. changed the colour of their bottle from opaque or brightly coloured to clear or changed the label design on a product.

4. PET-repreneur

About the award: This category recognises a man, woman or other individual whose entrepreneurial insight, ingenuity and perseverance has created and sustained a successful, growing business venture in the PET collection or recycling industry.
Who should enter: Owners and managers of small, micro and medium-sized enterprises, focused on recycling of PET and other waste streams, that have shown innovation and best practice in their approaches to drive recycling and waste minimisation behaviour in their business as well as in their communities. Those who can systematically demonstrate how they have changed their own circumstances through recycling as well as the impact on their environment for the better will receive preferential attention.

5. Local Authority Recycling Innovation

About the award: This category recognises the importance of partnerships with municipalities and local authorities in addressing waste reduction behaviour and helping to extract and capture value from resources that would be otherwise lost. Critically, as South Africa is running out of landfill space, strong partnerships with municipalities are required to decrease current illegal dumping behaviour and increase constituents’ access to recycling infrastructure.

Who should enter: Any local authority in South Africa that has used creative and innovative methods to drive up their recycling, reuse and waste prevention performance.

6. Recycling Partnership Gamechanger

About the award: This category recognises partnerships, including government (municipal, provincial or national), regulatory agencies, community organisations and private industry, that have successfully implemented game-changing initiatives, policies or programmes that advance recycling and sustainability in South Africa. Examples include, but are not limited to, increased recycling participation, targeted recycling or reuse awareness campaigns, or repurposing closed landfills. Motivations must include tangible examples of how the partnership has resulted in meaningful recycling outcomes or breakthroughs.

Who should enter: Combinations of waste management companies, recyclers, industry, businesses or compliance schemes. The entry must include at least two organisations from different sectors

7. Top Woman in Collection and Recycling

About the award: This category recognises the importance of women in leadership, specifically within the recycling sector in South Africa, and aims to grow the number of women role models in the sector for future leaders.

Who should enter: Women in the South African recycling sector that have demonstrated admirable leadership, business acumen and strategic foresight in growing South Africa’s economy through recycling and driving recycling efforts in South Africa.

8. Waste Reduction Youth Warrior

About the award: PETCO’s vision is that capacitated, empowered consumers know about PET and know that it is recyclable and safe to use; they understand the potential and value of PET and recycled PET (rPET); they use their influence to drive positive recycling behaviour through recognising well designed products. This category recognises specifically the role of youth in achieving this vision in South Africa, passionately doing what many adults can’t or won’t.

Who should enter: Any individuals between the ages of 6 and 18 who have tirelessly worked to drive recycling and waste minimisation behaviour in South Africa, through various interventions such as clean-ups (beach or inland) and education programmes around e.g. PET recycling

9. Excellence in Academia

About the award: This category recognises the importance of having peer-reviewed research underpinning any strategic interventions in the broad areas of recycling, waste minimisation and/or sustainability.

Who should enter: Academics and researchers that are currently undertaking research in the topics of waste minimisation, data management, Circular Economy principles, plastic pollution, marine pollution, life cycle assessments etc., that demonstrate intellectual inquisitiveness, insight, and growth while providing sound strategic and practical applications for research outcomes.

10. Media Spotlight

About the award: This category recognises a journalist, media personality or influencer that has made an outstanding contribution to the awareness and understanding amongst South African consumers of issues pertaining to waste reduction, reuse and recycling. This category recognises the power of the media and how, if used for good, it can have far-reaching positive influences.

Who should enter: Journalists, influencers and media personalities who are actively driving media attention towards recycling, sustainability issues and a Circular Economy.

11. Worth in your Waste

About the award: This category recognises one specific reclaimer or a group of reclaimers who have gone above and beyond to keep South Africa clean and keep valuable recyclable materials out of landfills whilst making a living for themselves. This person or group will also have worked to change the negative stigma and perception that many people have about reclaimers. 

Who should enter: A reclaimer or group of reclaimers who have made large strides in informing their communities about recycling and diverting precious recyclables from landfill.

12. Climate Change

About the award: By reducing air and water pollution and saving energy, recycling offers an important environmental benefit: it reduces the need to use virgin resources and decreases emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that contribute to climate change. However, recycling is just one component of reducing climate change and there is a need to look beyond recycling to ensure that planet earth is habitable for future generations.

Who should enter: An organisation or individual within the food and beverage sector who has influenced their organisation to undertake actions which seek to mitigate their organisation’s impact on climate change. This organisation or individual would have put various measures in place to e.g. reduce, reuse or recycle, implement cleaner production practices, use renewable resources and cleaner energy, reduce carbon emissions or fossil fuels released from day-to-day activities, plant/reforest land and/or implement sustainable farming/fishing practices

13. Waste Minimisation Star

About the award: This category recognises someone who has been the driving force behind significant sustainability improvements within an organisation. It identifies someone who has brought fresh thinking and enthusiasm in improving performance, operations or standards within an organisation or the wider industry.

Who should enter: Any employee in a South Africa organisation in a waste minimisation/recycling/sustainability role, who has driven substantial improvements across the organisation or the wider sector. The nomination can be submitted by the employee or on their behalf by colleagues or employers.