Trash for Cash: Evaluating the Impacts of Nudging in Low Income Communities of South Africa to Promote Household Recycling

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PackaChing is an innovative social enterprise that seeks to enable recycling behaviour in low-income communities by equipping entrepreneurs with small-scale, mobile recycling buyback centres. Households bring recyclables to the PackaChing vehicle and are paid based on the weight and volume of materials, which the entrepreneur then sells on to larger, government run material buy-back centres.  

This study will investigate the potential barriers and enablers to recycling and improved household waste management within low-income communities. We will then use this understanding to develop behavioural nudges to increase uptake of beneficial waste management practices by households. Finally, this study will evaluate the impact that the mobile recycling buyback centres have on the volumes of litter in the surrounding environment, via street surveillance.  

Overall, through this research we aim to develop a sound basis of evidence around the potential of mobile small-scale recycling buybacks centers as a means to impact change on waste management practices and environmental litter, while simultaneously having a positive impact on livelihoods. In doing so, we would seek to influence waste management policy within municipal government that could broadly be valuable in other low-income countries in the Global South.  

Project status
Financed by
Environment for Development initiative
Project | 11 December 2023