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Cash for recycling on WeChat

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M4JAM recently launched a pilot recycling project where WeChat users got paid R5 for each toner cartridge they drop off for recycling.

Microjobbing platform M4JAM (money for jam) has launched a pilot recycling project being pioneered on the platform in collaboration with Green Office.

M4JAM is a new digitally enabled microjobbing platform hosted on WeChat, which allows companies to allocate microjobs to tens of thousands of geographically dispersed jobbers’ across South Africa and pay them cash via the platform at the till points of selected retail outlets.

On the back of a hugely successful launch in August, Green Office approached M4JAM to place jobs on the platform to pilot a recycling campaign in three locations to pay jobbers to collect undamaged used toner cartridges so that Green Office can recycle them.

Andre Hugo, ‚ÄòChief Jammer’ at M4JAM, explains that Green Office, an environmentally-conscious document management solutions business, is the ideal partner to pilot this campaign given their established footprint in toner cartridge recycling. Green Office will designate specific collection dates at its Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban recycling depots over a three-week period and jobbers will be paid R5 for each qualifying cartridge dropped off at the designated locations on the specified days. “We plan to promote the campaign in advance,” says Hugo, “asking jobbers to grab the job and estimate how many cartridges they will drop off at each depot.

Green Office employees will be stationed at the depots to collect the cartridges and the jobbers will be paid through the usual M4JAM wallet mechanism. The campaign may be extended indefinitely to over 1 000 locations around the country if the pilot proves to be successful.

Hugo says this pilot paves the way for similar initiatives in any industry where recycling is a priority. It could also significantly increase the sustained earnings potential of our jobbers. “We are currently also in talks with a glass manufacturer, a tyre recycling organisation and a beverage company about similar recycling projects using the M4JAM platform. The concept can be extended to any recyclable, including plastic, cardboard, light bulbs, e-waste and paper,” he notes. “Green Office has taken the lead in harnessing crowdsourcing to step up its recycling activities, but we expect to see many more companies following suit once this campaign has proved successful.

With jobs being grabbed every 10 seconds on the platform, Hugo expects a good response to the recycling initiative. “Usually, people just throw cartridges away or drop them at a depot for recycling in an effort to do good. But now, this recycling initiative can be used by schools and welfare organisations as ongoing fundraising initiatives.” Increased recycling activity also reduces harmful waste in landfills, a fact that M4JAM welcomes. Hugo says: “Our mission was to uplift South Africans one microjob at a time. With initiatives such as this one, we are creating more opportunities for people to earn money by, changing behaviour in the market, bringing positive change to the environment, and more importantly educating people through the process.

Green Office reconditions many of the used cartridges for resale and for cartridges that are damaged or redundant. They started a non-profit company called Greenable. Greenable employs woman with disabilities to recycle the damaged cartridges materials into roof tiles for low income houses. Since inception, three years ago, Greenable has employed 28 woman who have benefitted significantly – both financially and from a self-esteem perspective.

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