Collectors of recyclable waste are being trained to build sustainable businesses.
PETCO, in partnership with the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) and Ngaka Modiri Molemo District Municipality, recently convened a collectors’ workshop in Mafikeng. The aim of the workshop was to give collectors information they need to build sustainable businesses through collecting recyclable materials. This forms part of the organisation’s drive to support existing and establish new collectors.
The workshop focused on the business case for PET bottle and other recyclable material collection. In particular, it dealt with challenges that collectors face on a day to day basis (such as a lack of recyclable PET buyers in the area, variable PET prices and high transport costs). Collectors were reminded of the importance of maintaining quality in their PET collections by sorting PET bottles according to colours; clear blue, green, and brown, thus enhancing the value of their recyclable PET and obtaining better prices from buyers. The importance of collecting high volumes of PET, at least a minimum of 20 tons per month was also emphasised.
A total of 25 collectors, who formed part of various cooperatives, attended the workshop and were appreciative of the knowledge sharing and prospects of ongoing support in the region. According to the Local Economic Development Coordinator, Ms Mabogosi Phele, “the workshop came at a perfect time and addressed the needs of the collectors thoroughly.”
Last year alone, PETCO facilitated the collection of over 63 000 tonnes of PET, assisting numerous intermediate collectors and sustaining livelihoods of over 40 000 informal collectors. As part of their support program the organisation is committed to continuous support for both municipalities and collectors across the country. To this end a suit of guideline documents have been developed to assist collectors in growing their businesses and for Municipalities in effecting the National Waste Management Strategy. These are available, along with others, in the digital library at