Zero Waste Toolkit Partnership Opportunities

We partner with Corporates to invest in and build infrastructure for the Circular Economy with schools as a strategic avenue. Align us with your CSR/CSI/LED strategy, benefit from being EPR compliant and help us scale this offering across South Africa.

Partnership Opportunities

1. Training Development & Resources

We have an opportunity to train all the schools Polyco is working with through the Pick n Pay Schools Club. We are looking to take our training to the next level and get them accredited.

2. High School Waste Curriculum

With the support of Polyco, we have managed to align and contextualise waste curriculum for South African primary school classrooms. We are implementing the Zero Waste Toolkit in 5 high schools and require waste curriculum to drive deepened education in the classroom and behaviour change.

3. Citizen Waste Toolkit

Schools provide a platform to extend into their community of parents and households. We can extend action against the waste crisis by providing parents and citizens the tools and resources to do the same.

4. Invest in a full school implementation

With each school, we start changing mindsets and behaviour around waste with an entire community. Help us reach more schools, divert more waste from landfill and build the circular waste economy.

What's in it for you?

Why invest in the Zero Waste Toolkit?


Support EPR Responsibilities

The Zero Waste Toolkit was developed in response to the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act, section 18. Invest into long lasting systems that create and foster the circular economy for plastic (and more).

Strengthen your company’s CSI and CSR Initiatives

Support Local Economic Development and Social Economic Development with interventions that will stimulate economic growth within the local community in which you invest. This includes job creation, access to waste management for the entire community, and the opportunity for revenue generation for the local economy through recycling.
Informal Recycling

Marketing and public relations opportunities

You’ll receive direct and measurable data for reports. Measure the impact in the communities in which you operate through significant waste reduction, recycling increase, and income opportunities for certain community members.



Based in the United States, Eco-Rise is one of our curriculum partners.

With Polyco’s support, Plant The Seed has been able to contextualise and align waste curricula for primary school teachers to access and implement in South African classrooms.


The Greater Tygerberg Partnership are the founders and incubators of the Zero Waste Toolkit. We have partnered with them to scale the service outside of their geographical mandate. 

What makes us different?

Why choose Plant the Seed?
End-to-end solution

Schools go from no waste management infrastructure or educational setup to a fully functioning recycling, composting and eco-bricking system with supporting training rollout.

Unique Curriculum

Because of our international partnerships with Eco-Rise and ThoughtBox, we have access to curriculum that no one else has in South Africa.

Curriculum aligned with the Department of Basic Education

Our curriculum is aligned with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), which is a single, comprehensive, and concise policy document introduced by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa.

Long-lasting impact

Plant the Seed partners up schools with recycling companies to start earning a rebate from the recycling the school generates. In addition, we provide training to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Trusted & experienced leaders in our field

We have years of experience in curriculum and education design along with years of workshop and training experience.

Monitoring & Evaluation

We have a thorough monitoring and evaluation process built into each project to ensure the quality and sustainability of operations. In addition, you'll receive data for reports so that you can measure the impact in the communities in which you operate.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many benefits for a corporate investor and funder. A significant benefit is the impact measurables we provide you to include in your sustainability, corporate citizen and CSI reports. Over and above providing you with measurable data and insights from our feedback, we also offer:

  1. Direct and measurable data for reports:
    • Recycling and waste metrics: recycling generated, and waste diverted from landfill.
    • Behaviour changes around waste and the circular economy.
    • Financial saving on reduced municipal waste expenses for a school.
  2. Local Economic Development (Social Economic Development) opportunities through our engagement with you. We are looking to create SED opportunities through:
    • Working with schools in disadvantaged communities to create effective waste and recycling management systems that can also be utilised by the surrounding community members.
    • Engaging local small scale recycling companies.
    • Part-time work for local community members to assist in the project implementation.
    • Reducing school municipal waste costs and working towards revenue generation from recycling that can be put back into the school and its learners.
    • Engaging learners from disadvantaged communities in the circular economy, how to manage waste and inspiring them to new opportunities to tertiary studies and careers.
  3. Investment into long lasting systems that create and foster the circular economy for plastic (and more).
  4. Proactive approach to corporate social responsibility and the plastic pollution crisis.
  5. Marketing and public relations opportunities.
  6. PBO tax certificates (we are in the process of registering as a PBO).

Financial Incentives
The school management and governing body is incentivised to manage their waste effectively to:

  • Maximise the financial savings on offer through their municipal bin reduction.
  • Maximise the rebate received from the recycling generated through well separated and clean waste.

Behaviour Change Campaigns
Education and training as a behaviour change driver. (Our monitoring and evaluation system reinforce this – see M&E for more details)

  1. Teachers and school staff:
    • Our training and workshops with teachers and staff ensure they are custodians of the system and role models to drive learners to use the system effectively.
    • We train and provide teachers with lesson plans and projects to engage learners with-in class support education around the importance of effective waste management and the use of the system at school.
  2. Learners:
    • Our learner workshops show learners how to use the system and why it is important that they do so.
    • The lesson plans and project they interact with during class reinforce their broader understanding of the waste crisis, why the Zero Waste Toolkit system is important and how to make further adjustments in their personal behaviour around waste management.

Yes, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is included in the budget. Our M&E process last for the entire first year of implementation and caters for on-site visits every quarter/school term and additional consulting and training hours to address any pain points or problems identified in the implementation of the system.

Yes, we have a growing database of which materials are collected in schools. These materials include aluminium tin, plastic (PET 1, HDPE 2, PS 6, LDPE 4, Tetra Pak), and glass (not as common). There is also a significant amount of food waste generated by school, specifically at schools with feeding schemes. We help schools implement food waste systems using a combination of Bokashi bins and composting – we are in the process of finding a method for tracking this data.

We collect initial data from our waste audits which use a sample size of bins to identify and extrapolate the average types of waste a school generates; these inform the infrastructure we design and implement at a school. We collate all our waste audit data across schools to get an idea of what a typical school might generate. For each school we also collect and compile data from our partner recyclers from the invoices they send to schools which contains amount of waste for each specific waste type. This data is also collated into an overall dataset.

We are developing relationships and partnerships with organisations (such as Partners for Possibility) that already have strong and well-established relationships with schools, specifically school management. We go through these partner networks to invite schools to apply for the Zero Waste Service. We only work with schools that have completed the application as this is a good sign of intent and commitment to the service.

Our application process:

  1. School management (or school governing body) will construct a letterhead indicating their eagerness to be involved in the project.
  2. We send interested schools an application form to obtain key details on the school capacity and buy-in. This requires them to think about the necessary involvement and buy-in from teachers, and grounds-cleaning-staff.
  3. Applicants will be selected from the applicant pool.

Implementation of the system infrastructure and training take a maximum of 4-5 weeks:

  • School waste audit and bin infrastructure design: 1 week
  • Bin implementation and recycling depot setup: 1-3 days
  • Staff training and learner workshops (from the ordering of bins): 3-4 weeks

Monitoring and evaluation runs over the course of the year of implementation:

  • Monitoring and evaluation: over the course of one year, we conduct a check-in and check-up once per quarter/school term with additional training hours throughout the year to address any pain points identified with the school.

We aim to work with recyclers who:

  • Recycle a large variety of waste materials.
  • Collect food waste if necessary.
  • Have capacity to manage mass-volume.
  • Have competitive and affordable rates for collection.
  • Provide competitive rebates on recycling.
  • Are punctual and consistent in collection.

If we are unhappy with the services of a recycler, we will cancel their service and partner the school with a new recycling partner.

We are educating and implementing systems for the circular waste economy. Our Zero Waste Toolkit provides waste management infrastructure (recycling and food waste), robust educational training for teachers and learners, and a comprehensive curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom.

Our Zero Waste Toolkit service is holistic:

  • We have vast experience in curricula and education design along with years of workshop and training experience.
  • We have a vast pool of lesson plans and projects around waste, the circular economy and other sustainability themes. We make waste and sustainability relevant to learners in a school environment.
  • We understand schools exceptionally well.
  • We are endorsed by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP).
  • We have a thorough monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process that provides schools support for the first year of the implementation.
  • We provide holistic and effective management of stakeholders from school management, recycling partners, and more.


  • Lower-income schools have large amounts of food waste from feeding schemes and non-recyclable waste (such as chip packets).
  • There is significant a lack of awareness of the basics of waste within schools.
  • Waste education is insufficient in schools even though it is included in the curriculum. This, paired with the lack of knowledge of the basics of teachers creates a problem when trying to educate around waste and sustainability more broadly.
  • There needs to be more thorough and formal training with the teachers and staff – even include this as part of their professional development.
  • Including a big launch event at the school with teachers, learners and even parents makes an impact on the initial uptake of the system.


  • We have managed to increased reduction of recyclables sent to landfill by over 40%.
  • Increased awareness on what is and isn’t recyclable among teachers and learners.
  • Change in mindset towards waste.
  • Educated and empowered ground staff around better waste management and managing food waste through composting resources on-campus.


  • The language barrier has had an impact on our training with teachers and learners. We are in the process of training part-time facilitators that can assist with vernacular training, specifically Xhosa and Afrikaans.
  • The lesson plans and toolkit are currently only in English – these are part of the language barrier challenge. We are looking for funding so that we can get all our curricula and toolkit resources translated. Xhosa and Afrikaans. We are looking for funding so that we can get all our curricula and toolkit resources translated.

This is currently one of our biggest challenges and a top priority for us. We are looking to address this challenge by:

  1. Training part-time facilitators that can assist in various vernacular training sessions with teachers and  learners. 
  2. We are looking for funders to assist with translating our lesson plans and toolkit resources into Xhosa and  Afrikaans.

Our Zero Waste Toolkit service at schools, we don’t aim to bring waste pickers (informal recycling economy) in as it is  a separate avenue and can create overlaps and possible security threats to a school.  

Our partner organisation (the Greater Tygerberg Partnership) has a buy-back centre in action in Bellville which  accommodates waste from waste pickers. Some corporates are interested in implementing buy-back centres,  however, while this can be done, our current focus is not on this aspect, rather on schools.  

  • Test and develop our implementation model towards replicability and scalability within disadvantaged  communities. 
  • Solidify a data tracking process and system to ensure we record and measure impact on recycling generated,  food waste composted, and total waste diverted from landfill.
  • Understand how our Zero Waste Toolkit offering can be contextualised for under-resourced and  disadvantaged schools with varying socio-economic contexts, language of learning, and teaching and support  structures. 
  • Test whether the Zero Waste Toolkit is effective in changing the mind-sets and behaviour of learners in  waste management. Do learners become more environmentally aware and responsible? Are learners able to  implement recycling systems and structures at their schools? Does their behaviour change and do they take  that behaviour back into homes where they have influence?
  • Identify how our training and curricula roll-out should be structured to support public schools with heavy  timetables and teacher curriculum constraints. Is mandatory teacher professional development and Life  Orientation the appropriate avenues to utilise for this programme? 
  • Develop a monitoring and evaluation metric and follow-up process that is sustainable for both Plant the Seed and the schools we work with. 

Security is a reality and something we must consider in schools from lower-resourced communities. The items under threat are the bin infrastructure and the actual separated recycling at the recycling depot. However, it is something that is out of our control in many instances and can become quite expensive. Schools will also have different approaches as to how they want and can deal with security. We will have discussions with each school to navigate how we could implement security measures that are suitable and affordable for their context. Here is our initial  thinking around security and examples of what some schools have done:  

  • Implementing low tech and affordable solutions such as chains and locks around bins and infrastructure. 
  • One of the schools in which we implemented the Zero Waste Toolkit installed a camera and a sensory alarm at their recycling and depot.  
  • We try to ensure that our recycling partners do their collection once a week, to mimimise the time for any  security threats on the recycling stored at the waste depot.  
  • We are building in extra support budget into each project so that we can replace infrastructure and bins that  get stolen. This is only up to a set limit and cannot be replaced indefinitely. 
  • We are looking into an affordable and workable cage system to protect bins and allow for learners and  ground staff easy access. 

We address these concerns through: 

  • Implementation of a bokashi food waste system. This is a closed system on managing food waste which  prevents any pests entering and any unwanted odours. The bokashi system speeds up the composting  process which helps the composting system put in place. 
  • Where schools can’t compost onsite, we look for recycling partners that can collect food waste.  
  • We conduct comprehensive and effective training of ground staff and personnel responsible for the  management of the food waste and recycling depot so that areas are maintain clean and safe.

What's next?

Find out how you can start your zero waste journey with Plant the Seed and the Zero Waste Toolkit.

We are looking for progressive partners who can partner with us in rolling out this programme in over 50 schools in 2022 and 2023. Interested in joining us? Simply fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch.

Zero Waste Toolkit 1-page Brochure