The Million Plastic Bottle Project of Operation Smile, Cape Town.

If you see a well-dressed, cropped-haired woman walking from Retreat railway station, bending and pausing every few meters, don't despair. She is not doing a new form of exercise nor is she suffering from backache. This woman, Naomi, is busy collecting plastic bottles that people have discarded along the road. There is not a single plastic bottle that misses her eye. By the time Naomi arrives at her home, she usually has a bag load of plastic bottles that will be rinsed and flattened.


The Million Plastic Bottle Project


Naomi is raising funds for Operation Smile, the Not-for-Profit organisation. Operation Smile South Africa provides free surgery to children who suffer from facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate. One operation costs about R5,000, a hefty sum of money that many of the parents of such children cannot afford. Recycling One Million Plastic Bottles can pay for one surgical operation and that is where Naomi fits in.


Naomi's fundraising project is called the #Million Plastic Bottles Project. She needs to collect 1 million bottles to pay for one cleft surgical operation. Often children who suffer from cleft abnormalities suffer enormous psychological and social abuse. Children mock them and they are isolated from enjoying their childhood. Their parents are victims too. People think that these beautiful children are cursed and their parents are often helpless to protect them from this cruelty.

Million Bottle Project helper. An unemployed community member has been recruited on an ad hoc basis by Naomi to help flatten the plastic bottles at her home.



Naomi has linked her fundraising to her recycling drive. Nothing that can be recycled, goes to our landfills or into our sewage systems from this dedicated conservationist. Bath water is used to water her growing veggie garden, cans are recycled, second-hand clothes are sold to raise funds for the Million Plastic Bottles Project and wet wastes are fed to her worm farm.

Source: Million Bottle Project, Facebook Page.

"I don't believe in throwing anything away. We need to use and re-use what we can. Collecting plastic bottles and recycling them will help to raise the funds for Operation Smile and at the same time, we will be blocking one million plastic waste from reaching our landfills and polluting our environment,"said Naomi. "K &C Wastes CC company in Retreat, is one of my partners."


Naomi is an angel of hope. One amazing child will be blessed with an operation to be able to eat properly and be a happy, smiling joy to the world. Let us join hands and help Naomi to raise her 1 million plastic bottles before the end of this year, 2015.


Here is what you have to do if you want to participate in the Million Bottle Project, says Naomi.


The basics about collecting the bottles:

1. PET 1 plastics bottles to be rinsed.

2. Decapped

3. Flattened (three/four foot stomps!)

4. Counted and delivered in smaller quantities to me (fewer than 600 bottles) or in bulk to K&C Waste Tenth Avenue, Retreat, Cape Town.


Get your companies and organisations on board. Every plastic bottle that is given towards the Million Bottle Project, means one child with a cleft deformity will be rewarded with the biggest, happiest smile. What more can we ask for?

Naomi's 6-year old niece helps to clean the bottles.







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