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These awards spotlight the eco-activists in South Africa putting the planet first! Donning sustainable capes, these are the change-makers making tomorrow a beautiful place.


South Africa (23 July, 2023) — Heroes in sustainable capes tend to swoop in under the radar. Their superpower? Leaving a place much better off than they found it for multiple tomorrows, and paving the way for others to do the same.

Eco-activism starts with considering the Earth with kindness. It grows with how you empower others to embrace the same mindset and equip them with the right kind of eco-wizardry that makes recycling, upcycling and mindful existence possible.

PETCO, SA’s longest-standing producer responsibility organisation recently named and famed South Africa’s heroes in sustainable capes. And the ‘Green Oscars’ goes to:

Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative

  • Winner: Razia Patel, Why Waste

Razia Patel from Ladysmith in Kwa-Zulu Natal is a recycling advocate who educates individuals in government, schools and households. She runs fun and impactful recycling campaigns and workshops. Her motto is “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle” and she believes “every little bit helps” because it does!

She dedicates her time and energy to the greenest cause by helping schools get into recycling. She’s been with Why Waste for 19 years and together they collect over 300 tonnes annually! Through their education and collection initiatives Why Waste impacts over 1 500 people.

Design for Circularity

  • Winner: CCL Label EcoFloat® Polyolefin Shrink Sleeve

CCL’s EcoFloat® shrink sleeves have been approved for the local recycling system in South Africa! Based in Joburg, this innovative design is making the headache of removing PVC or PET (which shrink sleeves are made from but aren’t easy to recycle) more sustainable with sleeve material that can automatically detach.

This design helps close the loop in bottle-to-bottle recycling!

Best Community Recycling Initiative

  • Winner: CL Trading, Stellenbosch Community Recycling Initiative

The Stellenbosch Community Recycling initiative started in 1996 and has improved the environment while empowering “waste-preneurs.”

The initiative operates a recycling drop-off site which collects more than 3 000 tonnes annually, paying previously unemployed individuals in and around Stellies. “Waste-preneurs” earn their income by selling recyclable materials and are able to improve their quality of life in this way by employing 42 people and collecting from more than 450 people daily.

  • Winner: Carmen Jordaan, Whole Earth Recycling

Whole Earth Recycling is a Jozi-based kerbside recycling collection company that collects more than 120 tonnes of recyclables from over 6 000 collection points.

Whole Earth Recycling also works with the Hawk Flight Community Project to sort the recyclables, providing an income for the sorters and helping to uplift the community. And, they employ over 50 people with 30 being previously unemployed and disadvantaged women.


  • Winner: Bevlen Sudhu, Re-Purpose Group Africa

Re-Purpose is a social enterprise founded by Bevlen Sudhu. Re-Purpose promotes the circular economy, eliminates waste with manufacturers and producers, and sets up buy-back centres for entrepreneurs to join the supply chain.

Through its buy-back centre and collections, Re-Purpose manages more than 2 000 tonnes, which supports 60 employees and collectors.

  • Winner: Rown Anderson and Lydia Anderson-Jardine, Wastewant

Wastewant has more than ten years of experience uplifting local communities, cleaning the environment, and contributing to the local economy through providing waste management and recycling services.

From humble beginnings on the Cape Flats, today Wastewant is a leading preferred supplier in the Western Cape. Wastewant manages municipal waste drop-off facilities and owns a private 400 tonnes per month Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Cape Town, which it uses to service its household collection contracts in the city.

Wastewant currently provides an income to 904 people!

Top Woman in Recycling

  • Winner: Dimakatso Mbatha, DL Consulting

In 2008, Dimakatso Mbatha established DL Consulting to focus on women, poverty alleviation, and a greener South Africa. With her BTech in Environmental Health and 15 years of experience in the field, she expanded the company’s operations to include recycling cardboard, plastics, and other materials in the Mbombela Municipality, which has seen the collection of over 1000 tonnes.

She established a buy-back centre with no funding and focuses on employing women and youth to combat unemployment in the area.

DL Consulting employs 15 people full-time, has created more than 100 indirect jobs and aims to establish more buy-back centres in Mpumalanga.

  • Winner: Cindy Foord, Matlosana Recycling

Matlosana Recycling, a woman-owned and managed buy-back centre, established in 2021 in Klerksdorp, North West, has become one of the biggest buy-back centres in the region, collecting more than 100 tonnes of mixed recyclables, including 36 tonnes of PET, in just two years.

The company employs 23 permanent staff (19 men and 4 women) and supports 160 waste pickers by purchasing their recyclables. In addition to purchasing materials from the collectors, Cindy mentors and teaches them about the value of the materials and encourages them to collect in a more efficient way to increase their earnings.

Local Authority Recycling Innovation

  • Winner: Bojanala Platinum District Municipality

Bojanala Platinum District Municipality is on a mission to improve waste management within its five local municipalities. The Waste Management Programmes Coordinator, John Oageng helps implement waste management initiatives to reduce littering and illegal dumps in the community.

Sources: PETCO Newsletter
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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