Building the next generation of eco-champions 


2 324t of recyclable waste collected

78 youth jobs created since 2013

866 schools participated

36 collectors trained and supported
in the past two years.

700 000 learners benefited

12 990 educators involved

982t of PET collected

40% of total collections was PET

12 223m3 Landfill space saved

1850t Carbon emissions saved

R35m invested since 2011

A new generation of eco-champions is driving recycling in their communities thanks to Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa’s (CCBSA) successful Schools Recycling Programme.

Not only has the programme seen schools across South Africa collecting and creating a revenue steam from waste materials such as PET bottles, paper, plastic and cans by selling them on to be recycled; the programme is part of CCBSA’s commitment to creating a waste-free South Africa and is in line with Coca-Cola’s global commitment of a World Without Waste (WWW) by 2030.

This year, the programme recovered 2 324 tonnes of recyclable material, which is almost double the amount of 1 168 tonnes collected last year and 76% above the target set for 2018.  Of this, 982 tonnes, or 40%, was PET. This saved a total of 12 223m3 of landfill space and 1 850 tonnes of carbon emissions.

In 2018, 866 schools participated, benefiting more than 700 000 learners involving over 12 000 educators.

Exhibition stands

Pretoria and Thohoyandou claimed top spot at the Coca-Cola Beverages SA Schools Recycling Awards, with Kgadime Matsepe Secondary School and Tshiluvhi Primary School declared the winners after collecting a total of 44.2 tonnes and 64.8 tonnes respectively in the record-breaking waste-collection campaign. The top schools receive prize money that goes towards upgrading their school facilities, over and above the revenue they earn during the year from selling waste for recycling.

Exhibition area
Exhibition area

During the rigorous adjudication process, judges take into account not only how much waste each school has collected, but also how they have involved communities and parents in their recycling initiatives. 

“At schools across South Africa, there is a sense of excitement and activism.  Learners take the recycling message home to their communities too, building a culture of environmental stewardship, while seeing real on-the-ground benefits for their schools,” says Tsholofelo Mqhayi, Head: Enterprise and Community Development at CCBSA.  “It is truly inspiring to see a record 866 schools participating this year, up from 40 when we started out seven years ago.”

Overall winning Primary School
Overall winning primary school

At the heart of the programme, CCBSA partners with a number of waste recycling collectors, responsible for collecting waste from schools; instilling a collection rhythm in the schools; and the weekly reporting of data.  Schools are paid for the volume of waste they collect per kilogram which they use to improve school facilities.  Over the past seven years, the programme has created 78 jobs for young people as Recycling Representatives, with 24 going on to find permanent employment.  In addition, as part of CCBSA’s Enterprise Development Programme, Tushiyah Advisory Services manages the enterprise development programme for 36 black and emerging waste management businesses, with a focus on youth and women.

Overall winning high school
Overall winning high school

These collectors are provided with business development support to provide growth orientated support that opens up markets and makes them more sustainable.

Collectors undergo training in modules such as budgeting, financial management, marketing and human resources.

Says Mqhayi: “When everyone is committed to reducing, re-using and recycling, it can uplift communities and help them thrive”.