Collect-a-Can’s Cash for Cans initiative safeguards the livelihood of thousands of unemployed South Africans.
Zimasa Velaphi, public relations and marketing manager of Collect-a-Can, encourages those that are unemployed and in particular unemployed youths, to see the Cash for Cans initiative as an opportunity to earn an income until they can find permanent employment or to supplement low income.
“We encourage people to collect all types of cans to sell to Collect-a-Can for cash, including beverage, aerosol, food, oil and paint cans,” says Velaphi. “We have seen time and time again the positive impact that this work can have on people’s livelihood.”
“It saves lives”
A previous can collector’s son, Titus Maphanga’s story is an example of how this initiative can prevent devastation and even act as a stepping stone.
Maphanga, 37 years of age, works as a machine operator for a property development company in Pretoria. He credits Collect-a-Can for giving him an easier start to life than he would have had without the initiative.
“My father lost his job when I was in Grade 3 and after struggling to find work, he started collecting cans,” says Maphanga. “All six children helped, and we often had to walk 10 to 15 km to sell the cans we recovered from bins and the side of the road.”
But, according to Maphanga, the effort needed to sell cans for cash was well worth it and he would recommend can collection to anyone as a means of providing for their family, particularly because one does not need any qualifications to make a living this way.
“It saves lives. The money brought in from the cans paid our school fees and put food on the table. I cannot imagine what my life would have turned out like if it had not been for Collect-a-Can and what it did for my family,” he says.
R20 million paid to collectors
“More than R20 million is paid to informal collectors annually, with thousands of families benefitting directly from this type of recycling work.
“The initiative is also a great opportunity for NGOs and community projects to start a can collection project and supplement their current funding,” concludes Velaphi.