ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Woolies pilots smart recycling machines at two CT stores

Retailer Woolworths introduced a new recycling machine at its Palmyra Junction store in Cape Town last month.

The machine is essentially a receptacle for packaging which can be recycled, explains consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

Read: Why consumers need to wake up to plastic waste (and start recycling)

Knowler recently visited the store and noted a great deal of consumer enthusiasm towards using the machine, which she says "makes recycling sexy".

The machine accepts all recyclable items, not only those purchased from Woolworths.

In the first month, 191 people brought their bottles and cans to recycle. A whopping 73% were women. 40% of them aged 19 to 25.

So, you punch in your cell number, and then shove the bottle or can into a hole.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Provided its barcode has been scanned into the machine, it will accept, and you’ll get a thank you, some points, and a record of what you’ve submitted via SMS.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

In time, they are going to link it to the rewards system.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

It's very clean and convenient. It's recycling made easy.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Feroz Koor, head of sustainability at Woolworths, says it has predominantly been plastic bottles, juice cartons and other smaller items which have been recycled.

Woolworths will roll-out another recycling machine at its V&A Waterfront store and should be operational by the end of the week.

The machine is a smart machine and is monitored remotely... Our recycling partner collects the waste and sorts it.

Feroz Koor, Head of sustainability at Woolworths South Africa

Also read: Ocean Basket introducing compostable cornstarch straws

At the same time, Woolworths has also announced plans to implement a 6-month trial in its Steenberg store where it will remove single-use plastic bags.

Customers will have the option of bringing their own bags or paying R5.50 for a reusable bag from November.

When there's no alternative, you make a plan. It irks me that 15 years after the implementation of the plastic bag levy, most people still buy their plastics at supermarkets.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

It's time to sort of force the change in a way.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion during The Pippa Hudson Show:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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