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Plastic Upcycling and Education, South Africa

African Impact’s plastic and environmental sustainability initiative is working to reduce the impact of plastic and waste on people, the environment, and wildlife in Africa. Across two locations in South Africa and Zambia, we are connecting fiercely passionate international volunteers and interns with driven, motivated local communities, who are then able to work together to solve one of our planet’s most pressing issues; plastic and waste. 


While living on the borders of the fragile, but stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site – iSimangaliso Wetlands – this unique, hands-on opportunity focuses on the prevention of waste, direct clean-up action, and exploring creative opportunities for reusing, repurposing and recycling plastics. With particular emphasis on education and upcycling, volunteers will teach the local community about litter and waste, as well as find creative ways to help individuals earn an income from upcycling discarded plastics.


  • Build awareness about the threats of plastic and waste and devise solutions that will impact on the lives of the local community and wildlife
  • Be involved in clean-ups and the creation of real waste management options in an area where nothing currently exists
  • Get creative and entrepreneurial by helping turn waste and plastic into income-generating initiatives for local people
  • Support local teachers at community pre-schools, empowering them with skills to better educate their students on the impact of litter and plastic on the environment
  • Become part of a rural community that is working together on culturally-responsible and contextual solutions
  • Live on the border of the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park; where marine, lagoon, and land-life converge
  • See for yourself why St. Lucia, the Indian Ocean coastline, and the surrounding areas are a haven for mammal, bird, and marine life
  • Be based in the very safe town of St. Lucia, famous for its roaming wildlife and vibrant Zulu culture
  • Take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime activities only available in this destination, including world-class safaris, hippo and crocodile viewing cruises, turtle hatching tours (seasonal), whale watching tours (seasonal), and guided snorkelling opportunities

About the Destination

St Lucia, Zululand, is a coastal paradise in South Africa, warm all year round, and home to the largest population of hippos and crocodiles in the country. Just imagine waking up at your volunteer accommodation with monkeys rummaging through your breakfast cereals, spotting hippos dipping in the river before lunch, and then spending your evening under the stars, on a night safari drive through some of the most famous game reserves in Africa. That is St. Lucia.

What puts St. Lucia on the map is that it is one of the only towns in the entire world to be surrounded by a stunning World Heritage Site made up of long stretches of untouched beaches, huge plains filled with Africa’s most magnificent wildlife, and endless winding rivers and lakes.

Yet, South Africa (much like many other African nations) experiences real issues around waste management which is often non-existent, with no infrastructure in place to responsibly dispose of plastic or other litter. This, coupled with the lack of feasible and environmentally-sustainable recycling projects to help address the growing issue of litter, means pollution is a huge threat to the environment and health of local people.

Remote communities, poor road infrastructure, and low-income households who simply cannot afford refuse bags, is causing waste to be dumped or burned, flowing into neighboring wetlands, lagoons, rivers and oceans. With recent reports suggesting rural households are only able to recycle 3% of their goods, the question is: What do we do about it?

Dates & Rates

Apply Now

Our project fee includes:
  • Accommodation throughout your stay
  • 3 meals a day cooked by a local chef (weekdays only)
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Transport to and from project
  • 24/7 support from experienced international and local staff
  • Full orientation to ensure you contribute responsibly
  • Project equipment and resources
Our project fee excludes:
  • Flights (we can assist you with this)
  • Medical or travel insurance (we can assist you with this)
  • Visa-related costs
  • Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
  • Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
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