Africa's Biggest Cleanup Event Our continent took hands to #ActForChange.

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.

Usave Worcester raised R1 500 from recycled material.
“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.

Hilton and volunteers cleaning up their community of Wesbank, outside of Cape Town.

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.

The Shoprite Group is committed to reducing waste in its everyday operations:

  • It has a zero waste-to-landfill approach.
  • In 2013, it became the first South African retailer to introduce shopping bags made from 100% recycled plastic in its Checkers stores. Today these bags are also available at Shoprite and Usave supermarkets countrywide.
  • The Group’s Free State division has been organising cleanups of the Bloemfontein CBD each month since March 2018.
  • In February 2017 its private label Zip Cola became the first carbonated soft drink sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of which 25% is produced from post-consumer waste.
  • The Zip Cola bottle was named Recycled Product of the Year at the 2018 PETCO Awards, the industry’s biggest celebration of recycling and waste management excellence.
  • Almost 60% of the packaging used for fruit and vegetables – punnets, trays, bags, pockets and cartons – is widely recyclable in South Africa.

The late, great Nelson Mandela dreamt “of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.” The Shoprite Group is further compelled to on a daily basis Act For Change among the people who make up the communities which it serves.

The retail giant fights hunger by planting community food gardens across South Africa and in Zambia and providing meals to those who need it the most with its mobile soup kitchens.

In a national programme the Group empowers women who run Early Childhood Development Centres and creates economic opportunities for women-owned businesses by, among others, adding them to its supply chain.

Rampant youth unemployment is the focus of the Group’s skills development programmes, while its Act For Change card seeks to ease the economic pressure on NPOs by ensuring they get a 5% discount at all stores with 30 days to pay and no interest.

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