By: Keletso Mkhwanazi
For social entrepreneurs Chad Robertson and Nkazimlo Miti, the essence of their recycling initiative is advancing civilisation. The pair started Regenize in Cape Town. It rewards families for recycling with a digital currency known as Remali, which can be used to buy airtime and food. At the same time, it works with waste pickers and provides them with uniforms, recycling tricycles and smartphones which connects them to residents who separate their recyclables.
According to Robertson, Regenize offers its services in several neighbourhoods near Cape Town, including more than 22,000 households. It collaborates with 40 waste pickers and recently hired 10 employees. “… we make slightly over R212,000 in revenue annually. In the next year or two, Regenize intends to expand its clientele and service reach more Cape Town neighbourhoods and cities,” he told Vutivi News.
According to Miti, their motivation for innovation was aimed at pushing the boundaries of what was achievable. “Like many of you, we think we can change the world. That is why we established Regenize, a recycling collection business focused on innovation and sustainability. while also aiming to have a positive social impact,” he said. “Our goal is to encourage recycling in Africa, thus we offer rewards for doing so. With our Regenize education courses, we also educate our young, so we don’t just reward recycling.”
The services include collecting rubbish, converting garbage and educating people about the benefits of recycling. In 2019, the company was one of the top winners at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards.”With the award grant, Regenize expanded its services to more communities, offering recycling services to additional households in Cape Town and improving working conditions for their waste pickers,” he said, adding that the funds had also enabled them to hire a full team to help with the management of the business.
Robertson said they had attracted a lot of interest after receiving the reward. “People want to franchise our model and enter into partnerships, however, we feel like it is still too early to agree to anything right now, but it is something we can look into in the future,” he said.