Feel Good Friday – Finding Wealth in Waste

Feel Good Friday - Finding Wealth in Waste


Waste. Rubbish. Refuse. “Where’s the value in that?” you might ask. Dig a little deeper and you will discover the treasure to be found in trash.

PRASA – the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa together with the Umbilo Business Forum (UBF) and EThekwini Municipality Parks Department successfully launched the free Entrepreneurship Training Course project, which ran from Tuesday 17 April to Friday 20 April 2018 daily and is being held at the Cancer Association of South Africa in Umbilo, Durban.
This course came about as a result of the UBF’s commitment to the betterment of the lives of collectors in the area, most of them homeless and living on the street.
Ian Campbell-Gillies, policy director of the UBF was also troubled by the fact that these homeless people bore the brunt of people’s ire and blamed them for any crime in any area of Umbilo.
The collectors were haphazardly collecting waste in the area but it was evident that – with the right separating methods, ethical personal and business practises, knowledge of what is recyclable and what is not – they could increase their earnings.


Classroom 2
Campbell-Gillies collaborated with PRASA Operations Director Ursula Henneberry, and says he is delighted to see a four day Entrepreneurship Course, specifically for the UBF, coming to fruition.
“The aim was to clean up Umbilo, end pollution of the harbour from our area, and add to the future success of the Park as a credit to the community. We ended 2017 with much of the infrastructure in place and prepared for the launch of a recycling facility at Congella Park in 2018, led by EThekwini Municipality’s Jennifer Rampersad,” said Campbell-Gillies.
We also hope to ensure better prices are paid for good quality material to the recyclers. The UBF appeals to neighbours, residents and businesses to support the entrepreneurs (collectors) of the area by separating and bagging their recyclable materials, so that materials won’t become contaminated with other household waste.
Enriching course content
• Paper collection and recycling
•Milk and juice cartons recycling
•PET Recycling (Plastic Bottles)
•Entrepreneurship and Small Business Basics – practical needs, business needs, management needs
•Business Communication – projecting a professional image
•SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
•Business Research and how to Plan the Business Venture
•The Business Environment – micro, market and macro
•Basic Business Finance – personal budgeting, business budgeting, calculating profit and loss, management of costs, calculating interest, managing cash flow, record keeping
•Writing a Business Plan
Henneberry shares how people can either earn money from collecting and on-selling recyclables or support others with a dignified form of income.
Drive around your neighbourhood or community on refuse collection day and you will be sure to notice a number of people with rickety trolleys wading through wheelie bins and black bags.
“Informal waste collectors are often seen as a nuisance, especially when hauling overloaded trolleys along busy roads; but these people are trying to squeeze out a living by recovering recyclables and selling them to buy-back centres,” explains Henneberry.
The average waste collector can start without a cent in his or her pocket and end the day with enough to buy food for the table. 

Paper has a value

Paper and paper packaging is not waste but a valuable commodity.  For manufacturers, recycled paper is an alternative fibre, with some 65% of recovered paper being used as raw material for the production of corrugated boxes and board, newspapers, tissue products, kitchen and industrial paper toweling, cereal boxes, soap cartons and moulded paper products like egg boxes.
PRASA’s member companies in the paper recovery, sorting, recycling and manufacturing sector operate a vast network of buy-back centres, which help to facilitate the trade of recovered paper. 
Many of these facilities offer walk-in, daily trade and more formal procurement arrangements.
Not only does recycling provide economic opportunities for citizens from all walks of life, it ensures that valuable raw material does not end up in landfill where it becomes difficult if not impossible to retrieve, contaminated and unusable. 

Transforming lives through training

Paper recycling also plays a big part in job creation – from the people who walk the streets collecting recyclables to bigger companies that employ people to recover, weigh and sort recyclables.
Through the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta), PRASA has delivered a number of training courses around the country in an effort to empower entrepreneurs and unemployed youth in the waste management and recycling sector.
The training targets people through youth centres, faith groups and local industry associations, with partnerships with local municipalities playing a vital role.
The four-day workshop takes a practical approach on a variety of key business basics, among them entrepreneurship, communication, elementary finance and research and planning.
On many occasions, PRASA has partnered with PETCO (the Polyethylene Terephthalate Recycling Organisation of South Africa) to deliver a more holistic programme. 
“We are so often impressed by the ‘can-do’ attitude of our trainees. By giving them a platform for learning and earning, they are able to translate their ideas into income-generating action,” says Henneberry. 
Many of PRASA’s participants have moved up the ‘ladder’ – from hauling a trolley to driving a truck, and subsequently paying it forward by employing others.

More bucks at buy-back centres

The waste management sector is a complex one, and susceptible to various economic factors, especially when it comes to pricing. “One day, the price for a kilogram of K4 – cardboard boxes – might be X, the following day it could be less or more,” says Henneberry. 
By teaching participants to collect more than one recyclable material – in this case paper and PET packaging – entrepreneurs are able to maximise the money they receive per trolley load. 
They are also taught how to sort and separate various grades of paper to further increase their earning potential. 
“The collector should separate white office paper – Heavy Letter or HL1 – from magazines and newspaper, and corrugated boxes from the milk and juice cartons (liquid board packaging) as each grade fetches a different price per kilogram,” notes Henneberry.

Making paper recycling your business

Most people are paper users – from cereal boxes to magazines, milk cartons to toilet roll cores. We need more paper recyclers who care for the environment and the economy,” says Henneberry. 
If you don’t belong to a paper collection programme in your area, strike a deal with a waste collector and agree to put your recyclables out in separate bags – paper and cardboard in one, and other recyclables in another. 
This will not only save the collector time, but the indignity of having to dig through a week’s worth of wet and rotting waste.
“Recyclable paper products should be kept clean and dry to ensure that the waste collector earns maximum value,” advises Henneberry.

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