5 June 2023

More than R10 million has been paid out to community members and over 10 million kilograms of waste diverted from landfill by Packa-Ching, a Polyco recycling initiative supported by Shoprite.

With mobile units operating in low-income areas where recycling infrastructure is hard to come by, Packa-Ching incentivises communities to collect and recycle waste. Recyclable packaging materials, including plastic, glass, cans, and paper, are weighed, and community members are paid instantly via a cashless eWallet system. The funds can be used at any participating retailer or can be withdrawn or transferred to anyone in South Africa.

Packa-Ching launched its first mobile unit in August 2017 in Langa, Cape Town and has since expanded nationwide. The 15th Packa-Ching unit recently launched in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal. The initiative’s unique model is entrepreneur-focused, and each unit is owner-operated. The programme provides an income-earning opportunity for both the community members and the waste entrepreneurs.

“Newcastle is a job-scarce area and we’ve seen the positive impact that our first unit had on our business and the community. As more people see value in recycling, the demand has grown tremendously. People can earn a living and with our new unit we’ve created five permanent jobs,” says Phila Dlamini, co-owner of Mpilenhle Packa-Ching in Newcastle.

Group of people with a recycling bag, standing in front of the Paca Ching trailer. Over 10 million kilograms of waste diverted from landfill by Packa-Ching, a Polyco recycling initiative supported by Shoprite.

Servicing more than 80 communities and schools across South Africa, Packa-Ching has created more than 57 new jobs since its inception via the Shoprite Group’s participation in the YES (Youth Employment Service) initiative. YES is a collaborative effort between government, business and labour aimed at combating high youth unemployment by providing job opportunities and skills development for young people.

“Shoprite got involved when we started the Packa-Ching Mobile buy-back center, through their sponsorship and support, we are able to pay the employees. “We have created employment for them, they are able to take care of their families. The education involved helps enhance their personal development and prepares them for further opportunities within the waste and recycling industry.

- John Ndava, Project Manager of Packa-Ching in Philippi, Cape Town

Group of people with recycling bags, in line, in front of the Paca Ching trailer. More than R10 million collected through a buy-back initiative for recyclable material.

“This initiative aligns with Shoprite’s efforts to uplift lives every day through programmes that promote sustainable practices and reduce the impact on the environment while providing economic opportunity in vulnerable areas. This circular economy has a positive impact on the environment and communities.” 

- Sanjeev Raghubir, Sustainability Manager of the Shoprite Group