Date project started:
January 2017
Aim of project and outcomes

As part of Greater Tygerberg Partnership mandate to support job creation and waste management projects, the GTP in collaboration with The Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID), MES Cape Town and Green Cape have initiated the Trolley and Recycling Project.
The purpose of the project is to use a strategic urban intervention to relieve “stress” points in Bellville that can have a catalytic positive impact on the broader area of Bellville.

This is an innovative way of making the business of waste collection safer and more profitable for collectors who spend all day scouting the streets for rubbish that make them a few rands at the end of the day. The Trolley and Recycling Project is a community upliftment project which aim to empower Bellville waste collectors with functional, safer and durable waste trolleys.

Another beautiful aspect about the trolley is that it also doubles up as a mobile billboard where companies can advertise their brand and add content on the trolley.

Objectives of the project:

To structure and equip the waste pickers operating in the GTP focus area in such a way that they have access to:

  • Legal and user-friendly trolleys.
  • Legal and accessible buy-back centres with a predictable income.
  • The necessary social development services and skills development opportunities.
  • Support and recyclable waste from the formal business sector.
Brief description of project

The Trolley Project is a structured, facilitated programme that provides personal and economic development opportunities for waste pickers. It is designed to empower individuals to become active recycling entrepreneurs, through their participation in a skills development and life skills programme. It will also help to maintain a clean city centre and reduce the waste mountain in Cape Town.

The Trolley Project is an integrated social, environmental and economic development programme which was launched following 18 months of extensive research, consultation and programme development.

In Bellville CBD alone, 200 tons of waste are recycled every month. The waste is collected by waste pickers who transport recyclable materials to buy-back centres. The buy-back centres pay the pickers for each usable load. GreenCape estimates that this process saves the City of Cape Town around R1 million every month. In addition, recycling diverts waste from landfills which are already running out of space. Around 80% of post-consumer waste is recycled through the informal economy.

For waste pickers, recycling other people’s waste is their only way to earn an income. According to a survey conducted by GreenCape, picking waste is a full-time job for many of the individuals. On average, they work 8.5 hours a day, collecting and transporting waste.

Waste is a growing problem in Cape Town, where landfills are full to capacity in addition to discarded uncollected waste sending a negative signal about an urban environment.  Poverty is the number one driver of homelessness and negative behaviour in our cities. The Trolley Project helps to address these concerns: to maintain a clean, well-kept city centre, divert waste from landfills and provide opportunities for destitute people to earn an income that could, over time, break the cycle of poverty.

Here is how the project works:

The programme is run in three phases to ensure the individuals recruited are reliable and committed to changing their lives for the better.

In the first phase, individuals are required to show commitment and good performance as they participate in the programme and attend personal development sessions.

After six months of diligent performance, pickers are issued with high-visibility vests, marking their promotion through the ranks of the programme.

At this stage, they will be introduced to business owners, with a view to establishing a regular ‘beat’. Businesses discard more recyclable materials such as cardboard and paper which are generally uncontaminated by other non-recyclables. It therefore carries more value for the pickers and enables them to earn more. The entrepreneurial and life skills training continues throughout the programme.

By January 2019, seven months after being admitted to the programme, high performing participants will be issued a trolley that will help them transport collected materials.

Project milestones and timeline:
  • 27 – 30 November 2017, Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) facilitated a 4 day training workshop for the informal waste collectors.
  • Thursday, 15 March 2018 from 09:00 – 12:00, the GTP, VRCID, MES and GreenCape facilitated an introductory meeting with the informal waste collectors at CJ’s buy-back centre in Bellville.
  • Tuesday, 10 April 2018, the GTP, VRCID, MES and GreenCape hosted a Recycling & Informal Waste collectors Coffee Morning with key stakeholders discussing & exploring Bellville’s waste economy.
  • Tuesday, 24 April 2018, the GTP, VRCID, MES and GreenCape facilitated an introductory meeting with the all the Neighbourhood Watches in the Bellville area.
  • Tuesday, 19 June 2018, the informal waste collectors who had passed the assessments received a bib and a pair of gloves for the launch of the recycling initiative and as a tangible reflection that they are part of Bellville Recycling Project.

Bellville CBD