environment recycling sustainability

A Cleaner, Greener Forest

The mention of the Knysna forest conjures up images of elephants and natural beauty. Nestled on the edges of this green wonderland is Rheenendal: farms, smallholdings, B&Bs and a relatively impoverished community. And it is within this community that something wonderful is happening.

In September 2011, the 7 PASSES SWOP SHOP opened its doors. How the project works is that kids between 3 and 18 collect recyclable materials from their homes and the neighbourhood, seperate them into supplied bags and bring them every Wednesday afternoon to the shop located on the fields of the local school. With the glorious vista of the Outeniqua mountains and the forest in the background they get to weigh the bags, are awarded tokens per kilogram and are then able to redeem the tokens for much needed goods. For many of these kids, its the first time they’ve been able to go into a shop and choose something for themselves, something they’ve always wanted – a teddy bear, pencil crayons, shoes, bags or blankets. The expression on their faces is pure delight!

The Swop Shop concept was started in 2002, in Hermanus by Marilyn van der Velden and has since spread to a number of other centres around the Western and Eastern Cape.The simple beauty of the project is that the kids have to put in the effort to get what they desire. There are no free hand-outs. They’re enriching themselves and cleaning their community. These are the latest figures of what the Rheenendal kids have thus far collected:

• GLASS = 8375kg • PAPER = 1871kg • TIN = 511kg • PLASTIC = 1056kg

That’s almost 12 TONNES of recycling!

An ongoing supply of the following is essential to the continued and growing success of the project:

• Clothing • Blankets • Shoes • Toys • Stationary • Toiletries

The 7 PASSES SWOP SHOP is the flagship project of SEVEN KEYS (NPO 100/954), an organisation focussed on the social upliftment of the rural and forest communities of the greater Knysna area. For more information on how you can get involved, please contact: Eunice: 079 328 3835 Gareth: 082 696 7882 Email: Facebook: 7 Passes Swop Shop

Every little bit helps and is deeply appreciated. One person’s waste is another child’s treasure.


2 replies on “A Cleaner, Greener Forest”


We’re looking for any and all support possible. From financial support and/or donations, to donations of clothing, stationary, blankets, toys, sports goods, shoes…

Every little bit helps!



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