The good people of Food Maniacs and Mother Soup Project have been very busy feeding the hungry in informal settlements across Cape Town. One of the founders of Food Maniacs, Steph Venter, explains how he came up with a neat idea for beneficiaries to exchange recyclables for a hot meal, helping to clean up their communities while being nourished!

PETCO and PET bottle-to-bottle recycling partner Extrupet are playing a part in this amazing initiative, with the donation of bulk recycling bags to contain all the recyclate being brought in exchange for a hot meal.

Chandru Wadhwani, joint MD of Extrupet, said of the initiative: “Any opportunity to partner with PETCO on their initiatives to grow awareness on the recyclability of well-designed PET bottles and to divert more PET from landfills is always welcome. Our contribution was small in the bigger realms of things and we look forward to participating in future projects where so much good is done for the environment and wider community. A huge salute to everyone involved.”

Venter said he came up with the idea of asking beneficiaries to partake in the #FoodForPlastic initiative in May this year. So far half a tonne of PET bottles has been handed in for recycling, in exchange for a hot meal.

“The initiative is currently active in three areas – Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Kraaifontein,” he said. “Beneficiaries feel like they have a purpose by collecting a PET bottle for their bowl of soup and bread – and they are learning about the impact of plastic waste on the environment at the same time.”

Venter said the money raised from the sale of the recyclable PET was spent on fuel to deliver more meals to more people. About 50,000 beneficiaries currently receive hot meals from the initiative weekly, he added.

Of the initiative’s most urgent need, Venter said: “Right now my concern is transport. I am desperately looking for a permanent transport solution to deliver the meals to the communities.

“I have big plans for #FoodForPlastic, which is working well and is set to become one of the best ways to both feed people and recycle plastic at the same time.”

To get involved, follow Food.Maniacs247 on Facebook.