Inspiring a culture of recycling among young children.

Client: Solar Capital
Country: South Africa
Project: The Green Club Recycling Programme
Photo of Confident Young Girl Showing Biceps
Showcase of The Green Club Student Pocket Guide for Creativity and Recycling
Young Girl Wearing The Green Club School Recycling T-Shirt
Project Scope
Brand Development
Campaign Development
Content Strategy
Content Writing
Print Design
Merchandise Design
Research  /  Brand Development  /  Campaign Development  /  Content Strategy  /  Content Writing  /  Illustration  /  Print Design  /  Merchandise Design
Engage young students and create a culture of recycling in the Northern Cape of South Africa.
A recycling programme that integrates with the schooling system and is designed specifically to engage, equip, and inspire young learners.
Solar Capital becomes a meaningful part of the community and kick-starts an entire movement of recycling across schools in the Northern Cape.

The environment is cleaned up and cared for by a new generation of engaged youth.
Photo of Abner Wagenaar of Solar Capital
All we had was passion and a dream. Pigeon Pie conceptualized our idea and brought everything to life in the most creative and fun way. From a local town programme to a provincial success story. To see students wear their club badges with such tremendous pride is a reward all on its own.
Abner Wagenaar, Solar Capital
Photo of Angels Resource Centres and the Solar Capital Team Discussing the Litter Problem in De Aar

Solar Capital takes steps to clean up De Aar.

Solar Capital is one of the largest solar energy providers in Africa, with their flagship solar farm in the South African town of De Aar. Unfortunately, De Aar has a severe litter problem. Rubbish heaps, pests, and a growing hopelessness among residents were destroying the town’s potential to thrive.
As part of their corporate and social responsibility, Solar Capital partnered with Angels Resource Centres and launched various projects to kick-start a clean-up of De Aar. We were called in the launch of an inter-school programme to encourage youth to recycle and equip them to take ownership of their environment.

We worked with Solar Capital and Angels Resource Centres to create the recycling programme and communication campaign for local schools.
Photo of Design Notes for School Recycling Programme
The Green Club Character Design Inspiration Local Child in De Aar

How can we make recycling more engaging to children?

Our biggest challenge was to engage young children in a meaningful way. Our marketing and communication campaign had to inspire their imagination.
Solar Capital’s huge brand name or corporate mission held no influence among children – launching this initiative would be similar to launching a new brand in a new market.

Solar Capital rose to the challenge and we knew success was possible. Our success was found in the audience.
Important Steps
  • Develop a deep understanding of the market.

  • Be guided by what children are already engaged with.

  • Focus on simple and locally-relevant themes.

  • Give students a sense of ownership and achievement.

  • Engage students as peers, not as figures of authority.
To really solve the problem, Solar Capital knew this needed to be a fully integrated initiative, not just a marketing campaign. This is how the Green Club was born.
Photo of The Green Club Merchandise Drawstring Bag Design
Mother and Child Receiving Welcome Package to The Green Club School Recycling Programme
The Green Club Booklet Design for Creativity Tips

A recycling programme that grew to be a creative movement.

The students of De Aar don’t grow up with much in their small town, but they tend to reliably gravitate towards creative pursuits like music, art, dance, and graffiti.
Students were responding extremely well to creative workshops in the community. We needed to position the Green Club as a creative club, not a just a recycling club, if we wanted to earn their attention.

To learn how to engage students, we looked to local spaces that were untouched by parents or teachers, and held a strong “youthful voice”. We uncovered the maker-movement, mini-zines, and student newspapers that had a spirit of DIY and just enough playfulness to make it interesting. We strived to reflect this spirit of DIY in our communication, and we were inspired by local cartoons and recycled toys – things children were already gravitating towards in the community.
Photo of Students in De Aar Wearing Solar Capital T-Shirts

Giving students a sense of ownership.

The Green Club was set up as an inter-school recycling programme to encourage students to clean up their environment and find unique ways to recycle.
The most creative and entrepreneurial students are awarded prizes through quarterly competitions and recycling market days.

Although funded by Solar Capital, the Green Club was designed to be entirely student-run. Each school could respond to the unique recycling needs of their community, and students could feel a proud sense of ownership.
The Green Club Mascot Character Design for Children
Behind The Scenes Sketch of The Green Club Character Illustrations
The Green Club Booklet Introduction Page with Information About Recycling Competitions for Schools
The Green Club Booklet Design for Creativity Tips - Tip 4 and 5
A Young Girl Reading The Green Club Recycling Pocket Guide

Designing for engagement.

We created student pocket guides and cartoon characters to assist students in making the most of the club.
The pocket guides included creativity tips, recycling ideas, local maps, and a rubbish collection card to help students find and identify recyclable items in their neighbourhood.

Recycling tasks became a creative adventure. Finding recyclable goods became a treasure hunt with an included treasure map. For many students, recycling became another way to play.

Students used our guides to beautify their own environments, creating toys, sculptures, and new pieces of furniture out of nothing more than recycled material. Some of the best students used the guides to start small businesses where they would create art and decorations to sell to friends.
Photo of School Children in De Aar Recycling with The Green Club Recycling Programme
Showcase of The Green Club Recycling Guide for Children
The Green Club Student Competition Character Illustration
Creative Recycling Programme Booklet Design Showing a Map of De Aar with Rubbish Hot Spots Highlighted
The Green Club Girl Power Children's Illustration
Showcase of The Green Club Student Pocket Guide DIY Recycling Tips and Children's Activities
Close-Up of Recycled Art Made of Colourful Bottle Caps
Two Young Girls Wearing The Green Club Recycling Programme T-Shirt Designs

On-boarding students throughout the year.

Angels Resource Centres ran various school programmes, market days, and creative sessions to keep students engaged and committed throughout the school year. They worked tirelessly to stay ahead of the needs of each school and ensured students were rewarded for their participation.
What started as a recycling programme grew to be a creative movement, with exclusive merchandise, membership badges, and local awards encouraging a sense of pride among students.
Showcase of the Green Club Recycling Guide for School Children
Logo Design and Character Design for The Green Club School Recycling Programme
The Green Club Booklet Design Creativity Tips and Illustrations

Solar Capital ushers in a new generation of active citizens.

The Green Club empowered students to experiment and play, to think creatively, and look at their world in a new way. Most of all, we helped students take pride in their environment and adopt a culture of recycling.
Solar Capital were able to successfully engage the youth and have ushered in a new generation of active citizens who continue to make strides in cleaning up De Aar. Green Clubs have started all over the Northern Cape and Solar Capital have cemented themselves as a significant part of the community in which they work.