Top Recycling Award for Winelands Start-up

Jocelyn van der Ross (54) arrived in Franschhoek 15 years ago. As a single mother of 3 she needed to find a way of making a living and fast.

“When I first arrived, I asked myself: ‘What can I do to make an impact that no one else is doing?’ I saw all the wine bottles and started my recycling business going through bins,” said Van Der Ross who scooped the Top Woman in Recycling award at the 2019 Petco Awards.

She started her company Green Spot with two employees and a small car, but today she boasts 15 staff, 2 pick-ups and a trailor collecting and sorting recyclables as well as buying recyclables from three reclaimers. Despite being wiped out 3 times by devastating fires over the years, Van der Ross and her team have risen from the ashes each time to continue their work. During the tourist season (November to May) they collect 12 tonnes of glass bottles per week from wineries, restaurants and residential complexes in Franschhoek and surrounds.

“Glass is the biggest part of my business,” explains Van der Ross, “but we also collect plastic and paper. Irrigation pipes from the farms are also something we can recycle.” Competition has come and gone, yet the Green Spot Recyclers are still at it: “I love doing ‘clean-ups’ after the local festivals,” she says of the contracts she undertakes for the Franschhoek Tourism Authority for events such as the Bastille Festival, Franschhoek Uncorked and the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival held each year. She also takes groups of school children to do ‘clean-ups’ in the holidays. “The children get paid for what they collect and the place gets cleaned up, it’s a win-win!”

Future plans include enlarging the depot so that she can also collect garden waste and turn it into compost. “I would really like some funding so that I can collect recycling in the poorer areas. I get money from selling the waste, so I just need a trailor.” Also on her wish list is shade cloth or a structure so that her workers can do their sorting under cover; and connectivity: “I have to go home to download my emails because we don’t have wifi at the depot.”

Her prize includes 3 months’ consultation from a business development company and she is really looking forward to getting their expert advice: “My dream is to become the biggest women recycler in South Africa. I love recycling, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. It’s exciting, no day is the same.”

If you are interested in helping you can get in touch with Jocelyn van der Ross at

- Julia Moore