A clean environment is not only great for the future, but can be a money spinner in the present with waste management having an estimated market value of R15 billion.
The business of waste picking is helping feed families across the country. Ga-Rankuwa resident Godfrey Motshwane says he picks waste as a way of earning money for himself.
The waste picker sells his waste at Eco Care, a waste management company in Ga-Rankuwa.
Motshwane says he makes about R120 per day from collecting waste.
He collects waste in the form of plastic and cardboard. “I sell about four times a day to Eco Care. The material I collect is plastic and cardboard,” he said.
The waste he collects helps to keep his township clean from litter, he says the neighbourhood appreciates his services. “When I collect the waste from people’s yards they are happy and welcoming as I am cleaning up for them at no cost to them,” he said.
Owner of Eco Care Waste Management, Lerato Makube, said the buyback centre buys the waste from waste collectors.
Those selling waste at the centre are paid based on the size of the waste they collect.
She said the community in the area had become more aware of the need to recycle. “The business has had a developmental impact on this community. People who did not know about waste collection have started collecting waste," said Makube.
She said her business not only employs 11 permanent employees but has sparked a curiosity in the community about recycling.
“There is always going to be waste and people need to start viewing waste as a commodity,”Makube told Vuk’uzenzele.
Her business has been in the township since 2018.
“I got into this business because of the opportunity to green our community. We collect solid waste material for recycling which otherwise would have ended up in the landfill sites,” she said. Makube's business is in line with government’s plan to divert waste away from landfills.
The business has begun teaching its waste pickers on how to separate the different waste categories. “ People seeing waste as a resource,” she said.
Good Green Deeds
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched the Good Green Deeds programme with a special focus on the importance of a clean environment.
Research conducted by the Department of Envirnomental Affairs in 2017, found that at least 75 percent of South Africa’s waste is being landfilled and minimal waste is managed through the reduce, reuse, recycle and recovery plan.
As part of teaching and advocating the importance of a clean environment, government is encouraging for South Africans to take part in the Good Green Deeds programme, by keeping their communities clean.