The Shoprite Group staged Africa’s Biggest Cleanup Event where over 12 000 people in 12 countries participated in almost 500 events from 14-18 July 2018 to remove waste from communities.
“With Africa's Biggest Cleanup Event, we started to address the root cause of the plastic problem, which is human behaviour.”
- Lunga Schoeman, CSI spokesperson for Shoprite
This launched a movement of active citizens who act for change by cleaning and keeping clean public areas. During these 5 days more than 26 000 bags of waste was collected. Recycling was central to this initiative and cleanup organisers were encouraged to partner with local recyclers or wastepickers to ensure that most of what was collected also was recycled.
With this, it also highlighted the business opportunities available through the recycling of paper, glass, plastic and other material. An example is Usave Worcester whose staff raised R1500 from recycled material they collected in their community. This money was used to assist children in need.
“Another aim with these cleanups is to create awareness of the earning opportunities presented by waste. One of the key messages we hope this campaign conveyed is that there is value in waste - that opportunities exist where many just see rubbish.”
- Lunga Schoeman
In Wesbank just outside Cape Town, community hero Hilton Davids, founder of Vlottenburg Community Organisation (VCO), is also grabbing the opportunity to benefit from waste collection. Together with the Shoprite Group, he hosts cleanup events every last Saturday of the month. About 30 unemployed volunteers collect recyclables in exchange for food parcels supplied by Shoprite.
A local recycling partner buys the plastic, glass, paper and cardboard collected and all funds raised will be utilised to support the projects run by Hilton and his team. This includes the 80 children that rely on VCO for a safe and supportive environment in which to play, do their homework and eat.