The Green Club Recycling Programme

We worked with Solar Capital to create a recycling programme for high schools in the Northern Cape of South Africa. We developed the brand, the characters, and the marketing material aimed at students and their community. We encouraged students to experiment and play, to think creatively, and to 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.

Entrepreneur / Change-Maker: Solar Capital Project Scale: Large Project Scope: Brand Development, Brand Management, Brand Growth

Solar Capital is one of the largest solar energy providers in Africa, with their biggest solar farm in the South African town of De Aar. They’re committed to the care and development of the environment and are particularly committed to improving the communities they work in.

Their main town, De Aar has a severe litter problem, with dumps and rubbish heaps appearing all over the neighbourhood. Solar Capital wanted to do something to fix it. To them, the solution lies with the youth, and a school recycling programme was the answer. They created The Green Club.

“This was an opportunity to inspire a creative movement.”

The Green Club is 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 for their school through quarterly competitions and recycling market days.

To be effective, The Green Club needed to connect with students in ways they find interesting and engaging. It couldn’t be a brand that spoke “down” to them from a place of authority, but needed to be a brand that spoke on their level, a brand that was “one of them”. It needed to feel like it’s created by students. This was an opportunity to inspire a creative movement.

“We looked at spaces that were untouched by parents and teachers and strived to maintain a hand-drawn and illustrated feel to our work.”

Although funded by Solar Capital, the Green Club is entirely student-run and each school can respond to the unique recycling needs of their community. Inspired by the maker-movement, a movement heavily influenced by DIY, we aimed to create a club where students felt free to play and experiment.

Our design decisions were guided by mini-zines, student newspapers, and DIY publications. We looked at spaces that were untouched by parents and teachers and strived to maintain a hand-drawn and illustrated feel to our work. We were inspired by recycled art and the colours found in local student parties.

We created a family of characters who could help convey the story of The Green Club. Nawa, the brand mascot, is the centre of our story. He’s curious, fun, and has the personality to relate to the coolest kids in town. He’s here to help students unlock their most creative ideas.

We created a student pocket guide to assist students in making the most of the club. The guide included creativity tips, recycling ideas, a local map, and a collection card to help them find and identify recyclable items in their community. Some of the best students used this guide to start a small business where they would create art and decorations to sell to their friends. Other students used the guide to beautify their own environments, creating art, sculptures, and new pieces of furniture out of nothing more than recycled material.

The Green Club became a creative movement, with merchandise, membership badges, and school posters encouraging a sense of pride among its members.

We hope to usher in a new culture of recycling in schools all over the Northern Cape. The Green Club is the perfect example of how creativity can go a long way to transform the world around us.