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 household packaging, of which most is recyclable and therefore has a monetary value. These communities have limited recycling infrastructure and education about recycling.

Packa-Ching’s solution to this problem is an enterprise-operated mobile separation-at-source recycling service. It collects used recyclable packaging material from these communities which results in a cleaner environment. At the same time, Packa-Ching contributes to poverty alleviation by creating income earning opportunities by paying community members for their used recyclable packaging.

The first Packa-Ching unit was launched on the 21st of August 2017 in Langa, Cape Town. After the successful launch, Packa-Ching has started to expand its operations nationwide and aims to have a total of 25 units operating across South Africa within the next five years.

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Packa-Ching was founded by Polyco NPC and is sponsored by Shoprite and Sasol
In solving this problem,
Packa-Ching’s many benefits include:

Each Packa-Ching recycling unit is managed by an enthusiastic business owner that has been tasked to scale up the recycling and waste management operations in their areas of operation.

Providing job opportunities:

Each Packa-Ching business owner employs up to 5 previously unemployed individuals per unit.

Cleaning the environment

Household recyclable materials are collected and sold to Packa-Ching, rather than being discarded into the environment.


Community members 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.

Packa-Ching is mobile

The mobility of the Packa-Ching units address the inconvenience of recycling by taking the recycling facility to the doorstep of its users. Being mobile also means that the service does not require permanent land space to operate.

Packa-Ching is cashless

Paying Packa-Ching Users with a cashless eWallet payment solution eliminated the logistical and security-related risks of cash payments.

A sustainable business model

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.

How Does Packa-Ching work?

A Packa-Ching recycling unit consists of a recycling collection truck and trailer that parks at different collection points within a community for a few hours each week.

Residents bring their sorted recyclables, have them weighed, and in return are paid Kilorands, a monetary value. This is paid directly into their eWallet via their cellphone, which addresses the risks associated with dealing with cash. Users only need a basic feature phone and do not require a smart phone to be paid. The funds are immediately available to spend at participating merchants, which include but is not limited to, Shoprite, Checkers, uSave, Pick ‘n Pay, Clicks, Spar stores, or to purchase airtime or to transfer to anyone in South Africa, all via a cell phone.

The Packa-Ching unit is mobile, and therefore recycling becomes convenient for residents and enables the removal of waste from these communities without taking up permanent land space.

Each Packa-Ching recycling unit is managed by an enthusiastic business owner that has been tasked to scale up the recycling and waste management operations in their areas of operation.