How Jozi is trashing hunger and cleaning its streets with ...

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How Jozi is trashing hunger and cleaning its streets with digital currency

Scheme gives waste pickers a card for loading recycling points which they can then use on essentials

Kim Harrisberg

Mimi Ngalula never imagined cardboard boxes, cans and bottles would save her five children from hunger during lockdown, but over the past four months, digging through Johannesburg’s rubbish bins has become her lifeline.

Ngalula, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is one of hundreds of people in Lorentzville who joined a project to exchange recyclables for a digital currency they use to buy much-needed groceries.

Run by local charity Love Our City Klean (Lock), the project gives recyclers a card with a unique barcode that is used to load their recycling points. They spend the points at a weekly “swap shop” on essentials such as beans, soups and rice...

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