Telkom closes the loop in Khayelitsha’s GreenUp recycling project

Telkom, South Africa’s leading telecommunications company, has made a commitment to keep four Buy Back Centres in Khayelitsha connected to the internet in order to remain operational after the launch of a recycling project called GreenUp.

GreenUp is a tripartite initiative between the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP), the City of Cape Town (CoC) and Distell to solve the issue of post-consumer waste management in the community of Khayelitsha by encouraging recycling and providing assistance to the centres that handles the processing of this waste.

“It was a no-brainer for us to get involved and assist where we could. The benefits of the project are almost instantaneous; not only did the project create employment for the community of Khayelitsha but it solved an imminent climate emergency problem for the world at large. So many incredible people came together to make GreenUp happen; however, there was a connectivity element missing, which we were happy to provide,” said Gugu Mthembu, Chief Marketing Officer at Telkom.

A key function of the Buy Back Centres is to track waste management activities. To be effective, this needs to happen in real time in order to bring transparency to the sponsors; to ensure fair pricing to waste pickers (or environmental agents); and to improve their supply to waste buyers, without being overwhelmed by administrative activities.

To the aid of the Buy Back Centres, the DEA&DP, the CoC and Distell contracted Kudoti – a startup tech company that provides digital solutions for smarter waste and recycling in Africa – to develop an app that enhances work output and efficiencies

“It makes sense for us as Telkom to supply the Buy Back Centres with the connectivity that they need to ensure that they operate their businesses seamlessly with little disruption in their processes. Such places are some of the key sources of the solutions we need, not only to job creation as it relates to the big issue of unemployment in our country, but also to ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for us all.

These businesses contribute significantly to the green economy and answer some of the more immediate actions we need to take as a society to lessen the climate emergency through recycling and taking care of our environment,” said Mthembu.

“The coming onboard by Telkom is a natural marriage with our app for us. The Buy Back Center registers the environmental agents’ profiles and logs trainings, equipments provided, the amount of waste collected by them and the price paid into Kudoti.

The system also provides proof of work to the Buy Back Centers and environmental agents alike. Finally, it provides management data to the project managers and sponsors. Telkom ensures that the Buy Back Centres are online to be able to do this. It’s a perfect partnership,” said Prasenjit Sinha – Kudoti co-founder and Chief Product Offer.

To find out how to partner or get involved with the project, please contact Blain van Wyk, the project manager for GreenUp, at

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