Wanted: SA’s sustainability saviours


The search for South Africa’s sustainability saviours is on – and the chances are you already know one.

It could be a waste picker in your neighbourhood, a recycling initiative in your town or city, or a waste collection and recycling entrepreneur you’ve come across.

More than ever, the need to highlight the people and organisations working to create a litter-free and sustainable future is greater than ever, according to non-profit organisation Petco – South Africa’s longest-standing producer responsibility organisation (PRO) overseeing collection and recycling efforts of post-consumer packaging throughout the country.

“Through recognising excellence in reuse, recycling and waste minimisation around the country, the Petco Awards aim to drive positive change among consumers and in the collection and recycling sector,” said Cheri Scholtz, Petco CEO.

Scholtz added sustainability heroes were being recognised for “turning trash into treasure” and helping to bring income opportunities to their communities through their work to grow the circular economy.

“Our awards span 11 categories. You can nominate the waste picker in your neighbourhood, a recycling initiative in your town or city, or an entrepreneur in the collection and recycling space.”

Nominations for entries close 9 February. Further details can be found here.

Aside from the equipment support from Petco that award winners receive, the spotlight on their efforts has boosted previous winners. Last year’s winners were featured in an online docu-series titled Sorted, which, filmed by veteran actor-director Louw Venter, has received over two million views on YouTube.

“There are people who are designing products so they can be recycled. There are people collecting and sorting these recyclables. There are people buying these recyclables,” explains actress and docu-series narrator Lindiwe Dim in the premier of Sorted. “The money changing hands means that people can eat and communities can flourish.”