A project in Cape Town called Packa-Ching aims to increase recycling by providing a cash incentive. Pictures: Supplied

Cape Town - The Western Cape is bursting at the seams with rubbish and in some areas landfills could be at capacity in less than a year, James-Brent Styan of the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs said this week.

“The public can help by reusing and recycling," Styan said.

With this in mind, a project in Cape Town called Packa-Ching aims to increase recycling in informal settlements by providing a cash incentive.

Packa-Ching have a trailer that allows people to bring their waste to the location in an exchange for money, which is loaded onto their personal membership cards.

Spearheaded by Polyco and funded by its members, the project was launched in Langa in August 2017 and earlier this month added a new collection point in Joe Slovo Park.

Since the launch of Packa-Ching in Langa, the community has recycled 136,509kg of material and in return residents earned R 138 314, highlighting the fact that recyclable packaging materials have value. 

According to Brooke Kühne, Packa-Ching Project Co-ordinator: “Informal settlements suffer with having a lack of recycling infrastructure such as bins or drop-off centres. The result is that many of these communities live in waste polluted environments. As a large portion of this waste is packaging material from household products, most of it is recyclable and therefore has value, which residents may not realise. 

"The Packa-Ching project has been designed to create opportunities for a cleaner environment, poverty alleviation and positive change in recycling behaviour in these communities.”

How it works:

Through the use of the Kilorands Card TM (a special debit card), community members are able to bring their recyclable packaging (which includes tin, plastic, paper, and glass) to a drop-off point where a mobile recycling service collects it and pays the individual a set fee per kilogram. 

This money is uploaded to the debit card and can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted.

* For more information on either Packa-Ching or Polyco, visit https://www.polyco.co.za.

** As part of our #WeCare campaign, each week IOL will feature an organisation that needs a helping hand. Mail us at [email protected]