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Boxmore, PETCO and Destination Green Recycling collaborate to create jobs for local waste pickers in Samrand, Johannesburg

On Tuesday, 18 July, Boxmore Packaging and PETCO, the organisation responsible for fulfilling the South African PET plastic industry’s role of Extended Producer Responsibility, partnered to sponsor and handover waste recycling trolleys to five local PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) collectors in the Kosmosdal, Samrand community.

In collaboration with Destination Green Recycling, PETCO and Boxmore have identified five beneficiaries for the trolleys who will sell their PET to Destination Green Recycling. This arrangement will allow the waste pickers’ progress to be tracked, and their need for assistance to be monitored. Those involved in this initiative are committed to helping these individuals reach their full earning potential, and to stimulate awareness around the importance of recycling.

Destination Green Recycling is 100% youth-led and youth-focused. According to Zwelibanzi Mnguni, the organisation’s Director and Co-founder, “Channeling the energy, enthusiasm, creativity and innovation of the youth in the right direction reaps positive change.” He added, “We currently deal with separation-at-source-programmes which aims to reduce the contamination of recyclables and decrease the quantity of recyclables that end up at the landfill (waste diversion), and the collection and sorting of recyclables for resale. We also provide waste management and waste removal services, and recently implemented a mobile buy-back operation. Until now, we’ve been supporting the waste-pickers residing in and around the Sethokga Hostel and informal settlement.”

Boxmore, Petco and destination green recycling collaborate to create jobs and drive recycling in Samrand DSCN0169-1024x659 Press

From Left: Thembelihle Sikweqe (waste picker), David Drew (Boxmore), Benele Mlambo (waste picker), Len Engelbrecht (Boxmore), Belinda Booker (PETCO), Puseletso Mokanzi (waste picker), Arshud Sema (Boxmore) and Khaya Nkosi (waste picker).

Boxmore’s Samrand Factory Manager, Arshud Sema commented, “Boxmore is focused on building long-term sustainability through ethical business practices and has always been socially-conscious and responsible towards our surrounding communities. We have a great respect for the environment and try to influence our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to do the same. Driving recycling through job creation in this community is a win–win scenario that I’m proud to be associated with.”

Added PETCO CEO Cheri Scholtz, “We are delighted to be involved in such an important project as we believe small and micro-collectors play a crucial role in growing recycling tonnages in South Africa. Thanks to their hard work, alongside that of the remarkable network of dedicated people and companies we work with, 2 billion PET bottles were collected for recycling across South Africa during the course of 2016, growing the annual recycling rate from 52% of post-consumer bottle PET in 2015 to 55%.”

Boxmore is a founding member of PETCO with its Chief Commercial Officer, David Drew, an active board member. He explained, “Apart from this investment being the right thing to do, our industry cannot ignore the mounting necessity to encourage and educate South Africans about recycling. We are confident that these beneficiaries have all the support to further develop this small business opportunity into something that will both grow in size and income.”

An additional ten trolleys have been donated across two other communities (Harrismith and Somerset West) where Boxmore branches are based.