South Africa currently recycles 21 percent of plastics while the rest stays on the market or is disposed of in landfills, even though the demand for recycled products outweighs the supply. Waste management systems are extremely fragmented and the plastics value chain lacks transparency and integration. In Ekurhuleni, South Africa, most waste is collected by informal waste sector workers.
The Social Factory is a community enterprise focussed on developing a new model for plastic recycling and social inclusion. A partnership between Oxfam South Africa and the municipality of Ekurhuleni, it aims to integrate informal waste pickers into the municipal waste management system in areas poorly served by waste collection services.
The Social Factory is owned and controlled by a Community Trust incorporated to grant equitable distribution of profit. The beneficiaries of the Trust will be all 63 community-based recycling enterprises (CBEs), thus allowing a fair distribution of the dividends to all workers involved and consequently the local community in which they operate.
TRANSFORM is helping to establish this new industrial framework, where social inclusion, equitable distribution of benefit and socio-economic development of the community are as relevant as economic profit of the company involved.
The main objective of this project is to harness market mechanisms to create an alternative and concrete economic model that will strongly improve the resilience of the CBEs. The initiative has been a fundamental step in allowing informal workers to enter the market of recyclable material.
Get in touch with Oxfam South Africa
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