Packa-Ching gets local with Rafiki-Ching

Recycling of waste material took a new turn in Thabazimbi with the launching of the Packa-Ching project by Polyco, the Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation NPC, and a local business, Neo Recycling, who has been collecting household waste like paper, plastic, metal tins as well as glass for some time in and around Thabazimbi.

Packa-Ching is a community- based project, overseen by Polyco and the local recycling company, Rafiki-Ching, which aims to increase recycling rates locally by focusing specifically on low income areas and informal settlements – those that are often overlooked with regards to recycling education and services.

Packa-Ching is therefore tapping into a new source of recyclable material and teaching this population of consumers that used packaging has value. Packa-Ching allows people to bring separated recyclable packaging material (plastic, paper, cans and glass) to a mobile recycling unit – comprising of a truck and trailer, where the material is checked, weighed, and exchanged for a monetary value.

The mobility of Packa-Ching takes the recycling facility almost to the doorstep of its users, making it easier for everyone to recycle.

In Thabazimbi Rafiki-Ching also collects household waste on a daily basis. Mixed bags are collected and as they collect your recyclable waste, they leave you new plastic bags for future recyclable household waste. To find out more about their collection schedule please contact Jessica at 067 058 2534.

This is a free service to encourage households to make recycling part of your daily routine when discarding your waste, all for a better world and future for the future generations. But please, do not drop your litter anywhere as you go with the idea you are busy with job creation. This definitely does not encourage the youngsters to become responsible adults.

At the trailer at the collection point the waste is separated into the different waste bins by staff members and weighed. Kilo-Rands, a monetary value, is earned and paid in real time into a cashless e-wallet payment system which addresses the risks associated with dealing with cash.

The funds are immediately available to spend at participating merchants, including but not limited to Shoprite, Checkers and uSave stores, to purchase airtime or to transfer to anyone in South Africa, all via a cell phone. Only a standard feature cell phone is needed to use the service, making the system accessible to everyone.

Through its long-term partnership with and sponsorship of Packa-Ching entrepreneurs, the Shoprite Group supports cleaning up the environment, reducing the amount of recyclable waste going to landfill, contributing to poverty alleviation and job creation, as well as creating income-generating opportunities for the communities where Packa-Ching operates.

Packa-Ching is operating in Langa, Cape Town; Ivory Park, Johannesburg; Buffalo City, East London and now also in Thabazimbi. Shoprite were early supporters of Packa-Ching and have been involved in the Ivory Park, Buffalo City and Thabazimbi Packa-Ching units.

Since August 2017, Packa-Ching has diverted more than 471 tons of waste from landfill, while the communities have earned over R490,000 in exchange for their recyclables. The pilot Packa-Ching trailer operating in Langa in the Western Cape has not yet been awarded to an entrepreneur to scale up the operations. However, it was this unit that inspired the Shoprite Group to become involved and support the national roll out of the business.

This trailer has assisted the community in earning R380,000 and has diverted an incredible 338 tonnes into the recycling value chain, whilst only operating at 2 stops per week.

The second Packa-Ching unit in Ivory Park, Johannesburg, was awarded to a small-scale enterprise. Since its launch in December 2018, this Packa-Ching trailer has assisted the community in earning R48,000 and has already diverted 35 tons of waste from landfill and into the recycling value chain.

The third Packa-Ching unit was awarded to a medium-scale enterprise in Buffalo City, East London and launched on the 1st April 2019. This unit has included schools from Buffalo City in their collection sites. It is currently operating at 33 sites of which 23 are school collections. This community has received R47,500 by recycling 80 tons of waste material through Packa-Ching.

The fourth Packa-Ching unit was officially launch in Thabazimbi on Tuesday 9 July in Regorogile. Since early that morning, waste collectors delivered their waste to the site awaiting to have it separated and weighed. As part of the launch, some pre-school kids were shown how to differentiate between the different waste material and sorting it into different containers.

The Wessa Bush Pigs Educational Centre at Modimolle, also had a stall where the kids as well as the adults learned more about there role in recycling and conservation.
Wessa Bush Pigs is a leader in environmental education and has offered outstanding programmes for over 30 years. Thousands of pupils from all backgrounds and cultures from all over South Africa as well as neighbouring SADC countries such as Botswana, have already visited this centre.

At Bush Pigs pupils can enjoy a wide range of environmental educational activities focusing on environmental awareness, responsibilities and actions as well as leadership and personal development.

Each school’s visit is tailor-made to create innovation and exciting learning experiences, blending the curriculum with adventurous outdoor activities, environmental topics and themes.

They normally book pupils for a week, depending on their requirements. Accommodation, food, entertainment and classrooms are provided to the requirement of the schools during this period.

For more information on this and other Wessa centres, go to their website at Contact them at 087 460 0600 or e-mail to or on the website for quotes and bookings.

This Packa-Ching unit will service a larger rural area with its first month of trading reaching an estimate 8 tons of waste collected and paying the community approximately R7,200.

Marakele National Park also had an exhibit telling more about their role in conservation as well as recycling stuff which can be harmful for wild animals and birds.
The Marakele personnel were quite impressed by the Bliksoldaatjies knowledge of identifying the game just by their horns, forgetting that these kids grow up in a wild life environment, although “Oom” from Kwêvoël had to assist with identifying the Sessebe horns.
Here they also learned how plastic cool drink bottles can be recycled to be used as the building bricks of a new home.