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Changing South Africa: one piece of plastic at a time

Getting South Africans excited about recycling is, at best, a big ask. Not surprisingly, most companies would rather focus on other ways to enchant their customers than rally them around an environmental or recycling cause. And HDI Youth Marketeers' research has shown that although more sensitised to it than the generation older than them, our youth are also not natural ‘eco rangers'. Way behind our European and American counterparts, recycling is not top of many households', or teens', agendas. Luckily, a number of HDI's clients and partners have decided that 2010 is a good year to turn that tide.
Changing South Africa: one piece of plastic at a time
So how does one get young urbanites rabid about recycling? According to the Sunday Times Generation Next 2009 Study, fewer than 15% of South African youth say their parents regularly talk to them about environmental issues. In fact, when it comes to green issues, teachers are doing the most talking (49.4% of 8-22 year olds polled in the study are in agreement). So it is fairly natural that the school should be the first port of call for companies with a green agenda. International studies conducted since 2005 have given rise to the idea of “eco-pester-power”: whereby kids are the catalysts for change in households, influencing and informing their family's recycling habits.

Although HDI has run programmes, including Pick n Pay School Club, that have educated about, and driven a culture of recycling in schools, thanks to Coca-Cola, Pick n Pay and Collect-a-Can, this is being taken to a whole new level this year. Between these brands, and HDI's own efforts, the recycling message, and mechanics for creating momentum around it, will be taken to 2.5 million South African learners in 2010.

This is not the first time HDI and the Pick n Pay School Club has gone all out for green. Over the last seven years, the Club has provided over 60,000 teachers with curriculum-aligned material to excite them and their learners about environmental change, including national clean-up days and environmental weeks.

Coca-Cola's Ticket Fund project is leveraging the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ excitement that has built to fever pitch around South Africa, but especially in township schools. Using it as a catalyst for their ‘Live for a Difference' programme, Coca-Cola, in conjunction with the Department of Education, approached HDI to develop a competition using the 20,000 FIFA World Cup™ tickets made available to them to inspire youth across the country to collect cans and PET bottles. Over 200,000 learners have participated in the drive to date, collecting, literally, millions of cans and bottles.

“This is a spectacular achievement for both Coca-Cola and the DoE, but represents just the tip of the iceberg,” says Jason Levin, MD HDI Youth Marketeers. “You can expect us to continue to work with brands to tune youth into serious recyclers well beyond 2010.”

29 Mar 2010 23:32

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