Trading breadtags for wheelchairs initiative becomes rolling success

Submitted by: Tholakele Nene, Thursday, August 1, 2013

<p>These two recipients at Mount Edgecombe are just some of the many beneficiaries of the Breadtags to wheelchairs initiative (Image Source: Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa)</p>

These two recipients at Mount Edgecombe are just some of the many beneficiaries of the Breadtags to wheelchairs initiative (Image Source: Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa)

“Trading breadtags for wheelchairs” is an innovative project that encourages communities, businesses and schools to collect High Impact Polystyrene breadtags and trade them in for wheelchairs which are then donated to those who need them but cannot afford them.  In 2012 330 wheelchairs were donated through the collection of breadtags.

Over 500 collection boxes are placed at schools, community centres, retirement homes, libraries and business throughout the country for the collection of breadtags. Once collected the breadtags are purchased by recycling companies who then recycle them into new products. The money from the purchase of the breadtags is then used to purchase wheelchairs.

The five year old project facilitated by the Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa , works with a number of volunteers in various provinces throughout the country to spread the good will of the initiative and encourage more and more people to volunteer to be part of the programme.

The initiative also works with a number of partners in the industry who play a crucial role in ensuring that the right wheelchair reaches the right person in the right condition. These partners include popular wheelchair and seating manufacturer CE Mobility, who distribute and service the wheelchairs, MFI Mouldings and Groplast who purchase the breadtags from collectors and recycle them into new products such as seedling trays and picture frames, and QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) whose main role is to encourage it’s 600 volunteers to assist in the collecting of breadtags and assist the Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa in assessing the requirements of the wheelchair recipient. QASA also assist in distributing the wheelchairs and seating recipients. 

According to the Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa, to buy a wheelchair the collector needs to have at least 247.5 kgs of breadtags which can be used to purchase a basic wheelchair priced at R1485.00.

How you can be part of the change

The project uses a number of volunteers to collect breadtags in their communities, organisations and schools. It is an initiative open to all interested members of society. To be part of the project one will first need to contact the Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa to attain more information on how they can be an area co-ordinator or an area collector.

One can also contact the Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa to find out where they can recycle their breadtags or where their closest box to deposit the breadtags is.

“It is important for us to raise awareness that polystyrene is successfully being recycled in South Africa and to create new markets for this recycled product, while at the same time changing somebody’s life with one act of kindness”, says Adri Spangenberg a Director from the Polystyrene Packaging Council of South Africa.

“For every wheelchair collected, Sasko Bakeries, CE Mobility, and Goldpack representing Kwik Lok will donate one additional wheelchair each”, she adds.

Furthermore, to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate CE Mobility working with other companies such as Sasko and Goldpack have also joined to create the 4-in- 1 deal whereby each company donates a chair to a needy recipient for every wheelchair bought using the breadtags.

The project is currently operational countrywide.

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Tholakele Nene