Lynn Worsley launched the small business All Women Recycling in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa with two main objectives: to create opportunities for unemployed single women, and to reduce landfill waste. Along with business management and sales skills, participating women learn how to make the initiative’s signature product, the “kliketyklikbox,” which is a versatile gift box made from 2-liter PET plastic bottles. Lynn attributes the initiative’s success to designing a functional, commercially-viable product that fills a market need, reaches buyers that want to invest in the value chain, and does good. Approximately 350 kliketyklikboxes are produced each day, which are supplied to over 30 retail outlets and largely exported around the world.
Climate action is a key driver of the initiative, whose main environmental objective is to reduce the amount of plastic bottles going into local landfills which are already at capacity. The initiative has already seen success, with half a million bottles purchased from landfills – representing about 17,000 kg of CO2 – just this past year, according to Lynn. There are possible challenges to the business; for instance, any changes to the shape of the bottle may require designing new ways to use it. Despite these, growth continues, and there are plans to scale up the production by opening a full training center, in rural areas of South Africa and in other countries, such as India, to reach more women. Her ultimate goal is for the women in the business to leverage their skill sets, move up in the organization, and use this opportunity as a stepping stone to find other jobs.
Case study written by Isabelle Rui, based on an interview with Lynn Worsley, founder of All Women Recycling, and by research shared by Friederike Eichhorn and Sander Chan at the German Development Institute (DIE).
Image: Members of the All Women Recycling Team. Image courtesy of All Women Recycling.