The group’s waste management is closely linked to our activities around reusing, recycling and re-engineering of materials and systems to minimise waste to landfill and improve efficiencies. Physical waste in the operations consists predominantly of product packaging used for distribution (reused at DCs and
recycled at store level) and textile waste in our PepClo manufacturing facility.


Brands that utilise large amounts of packaging are continuously investigating how to limit the amount of packaging used, as well as introducing packaging with a lower impact on the environment. Ackermans introduced material pallet wraps to reduce the amount of plastic used. All inbound packaging is also reused for outbound deliveries of products, supplemented by additional recycled cardboard boxes.

Buying pre-used or recycled cartons is the most cost-effective way to distribute products from DCs to hubs and stores. PEP buys pre-used FMCG cartons to supplement their requirement for distribution to stores. Pre-used boxes increased from 2 300 tonnes to 2 600 tonnes of boxes diverted from landfill this year, saving 13% in carbon emissions. These cartons are reused and recycled by the stores once orders have been received. Stores are responsible for recycling and will participate in shopping centre or landlord recycling efforts, or make the cartons available to informal recyclers who collect paper for their own income-generation purposes.

Another initiative is the reduction of packaging tape used to seal boxes. Several brands have identified a glue that will replace tape; this will realise a saving of 138 608 metres of tape per year. In the furniture division, most products are received, stored and distributed in their original packaging from the manufacturer. In most instances, packing material for furniture, mattresses and appliances is sent back to the DCs via reverse logistics, once the merchandise has been unpacked and checked for quality.


Across the group, all single-use plastic and non-recycled or recyclable plastic are being phased out. All PEP and Ackermans plastic bags are made from 100% post-consumer plastic waste, diverting 1 541 tonnes of plastic from landfill for FY23 and reducing carbon emissions by 26%. Canvas bags have also been rolled out across PEP stores in an effort to reduce plastic waste and encourage customers to reuse their shopping bags. Refinery and Shoe City stores have moved to only paper shopping bags and are working towards increased consumer awareness and behaviour change.

All PEP hangers are made from 100% recycled content. Since implementation in 2018 this initiative has seen 30 million hangers replaced with recycled content resulting in 867 tonnes of plastic diverted from landfill and a reduction in carbon emissions of 16%. In addition to this, a hanger life cycle study in Ackermans, which focused on reducing waste and costs, resulted in a shift from single-use plastic hangers to reusable hangers with recycled content. The impact meant 33 million less hangers in the cycle resulting in 732 tonnes of plastic diverted from landfill and a reduction in carbon emissions of 16% for FY23.

All PAXI’s bags are 100% recyclable and made from 45% recycled content. As a business, PAXI generates in excess of 4.2 million bags a year, so the reduction in virgin plastic has a significant impact, diverting 55 tonnes of plastic from landfill in FY23 and reducing carbon emissions by 14%. Their aim is to further increase the recycled content over the next few years.

Electronic waste

With a shortage of electronic waste recycling facilities, Incredible and HiFi Corp have joined forces with Desco Electronic Recyclers, an accredited electronic waste disposal company in South Africa. Desco has created specialised bins for various electronic waste products, which are now available at all Incredible stores. In FY23, a total of 8 802 kg of electronic waste was successfully recycled through this initiative.


Currently approximately 72 000 kg (FY22: 66 000 kg) of fabric off-cuts are recycled at PepClo. While we have made significant progress, there are still certain types of textiles that are not suitable for recycling, and we are actively exploring additional solutions to increase our diversion rate. Furthermore, Ackermans is partnering with Wastecrete to prevent textile waste from ending up in landfills. Instead, these materials are being used to produce building blocks and pavers, contributing to a more sustainable approach.