Upon entering many informal settlements and low income areas in South Africa, one is immediately struck by the vast amount of visible waste. A large portion of this waste is used packaging material from household products, of which most is recyclable and therefore has a monetary value.
Recycling infrastructure (bins, drop-off centres etc.) are not available in many of these areas, individuals have not been educated about the opportunities available through recycling, and there is currently no incentive for residents to recycle their waste.
Packa-Ching’s solution to this problem is a mobile truck and trailer that brings recycling infrastructure and service into the neighbourhoods of it’s community users. Packa-Ching users are paid for their recyclables, thereby incentivising them not to discard them into the environment, but to rather make an income by collecting recyclables and selling them to Packa-Ching. The result is a cleaner environment and a more economically active community.
Each Packa-Ching unit is run by a business owner.
Each Packa-Ching business owner employs up to 5 employees per unit.
Recyclable materials are collected and sold to Packa-Ching, rather than being discarded into the environment.
Recyclables are separated out from general household waste so that people can sell their recyclables to Packa-Ching.
People are learning about cleaning up the environment and the economic benefit of recycling. Packa-Ching is changing people’s perceptions regarding the value of waste and in doing so, changing behaviour.
The mobility of the Packa-Ching units address the inconvenience of recycling 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 by the mobile unit.
Paying recyclers with cash poses many logistical and security-related challenges. Using the cashless eWallet payment system therefore offers the solution: far more people can be reached each day and the risk of dealing with hard cash is eliminated.
Packa-Ching is based on a self-sustaining business model. Initially, the selected Packa-Ching business owners are supported with equipment and some operational costs. However, over five years, as their volume of recycling that they collect and sell grows, the sponsorship declines and is finally removed and they become self-sustainable as a business.