The PACKA-CHING idea was inspired by many recycling projects around the world and carefully crafted to make the concept suitable for the unique conditions that we are faced with in South Africa.
95% of South Africa’s population does not recycle and informal statistics quote an unemployment rate of over 28%. With the aim of increasing recycling rates, PACKA-CHING focuses on low income communities, which make up a great portion of South Africa’s population. This increases access to a largely untouched stream of recyclable packaging material and creates opportunities for positive growth in these areas.
Detailed below are the unique and defining characteristics of the project that address many of the current challenges related to recycling.
Many people don’t recycle because separating household waste seems burdensome. PACKA-CHING recognises the need to make people feel that they are doing something good and reward them instantly for doing so. Paying recyclers with cash, however, poses many logistical and security-related challenges.
Using the cashless eWallet payment system therefore offers the perfect solution: far more people can be reached each day and the risk of dealing with hard cash is eliminated.
PACKA-CHING members can spend their well-deserved money at participating merchants, buy airtime or transfer money to anyone in South Africa via their cell phone.
The mobility of PACKA-CHING addresses inconvenience by taking the recycling facility to the doorstep of its users. This means that it is no longer necessary for individuals to travel long distances along dangerous roads in order to sell their recyclable packaging waste.
Being mobile also means that the service does not require permanent land space in the already cramped and over-populated areas in which it operates. Each location will only be used for a few hours each week.
Many people are not well educated on the topic of recycling. This leads to either a lack of participation or the incorrect materials being sent to recycling facilities.
PACKA-CHING is changing people’s perceptions regarding the value of waste and in doing so, changing behaviour. This is achieved through educating individuals about the benefits of recycling, particularly through exemplifying the income-earning opportunity that it presents. When a person realises the potential value that recycling holds and just how easy it can be, they will be motivated to participate, spread the message and encourage others to get involved too. The more this process continues the more widespread the behaviour change will be. In turn, more recyclable packaging is diverted from landfill and communities begin to benefit from the positive change.
In the weeks leading up to the launch of PACKA-CHING in each new community, specially designed educational material is distributed to both adults and children of all ages. This ensures that all users know how to recycle, how the service works and exactly what they can and cannot bring in to be recycled. By teaching children about recycling from a young age, the hope is that they will grow up with this practice as second nature and be the leaders of this positive change in the future.