From trash to cash, at just 22
Three Mpumalanga entrepreneurs are breaking new ground in the waste and recycling business in rural areas.
“Recycling is visible in urban areas, but not in townships and villages,” says Lebo Malope, Bhangula Waste and Recycling’s managing director and co-founder.
“You see, there’s virtually no waste collection in these areas … our research tells us that Mbombela municipality provides this service only in 46% of the area under its jurisdiction.”
He, Nyiko Baloyi and Patrick Maseko, all 22 years old, started their company in 2014 and have created 18 permanent jobs at their plant in KaBokweni township, 45 kilometres from Mbombela.
They have 650 vendors in the township and in places such as Sabie, Manyeleti, Bushbuckridge, Mashishing, Graskop and Barberton.
The vendors supply their plant with recyclable material, such as cardboard boxes, paper, plastic and bottles, for payment per weight. Bhangula Waste and Recycling then takes the waste to big companies for recycling.
Malope says they want to “revolutionise” the waste and recycling business.
“It’s a white-dominated business, as we all know, and we are infiltrating the market.”
He says they are also planning to expand throughout Mpumalanga and then to Limpopo and Eastern Cape. They also want to replicate the KaBokweni plant elsewhere in the province.
The company applied for R4.5 million in funding from the Industrial Development Corporation to fuel its expansion plans.
The loan was granted in February last year and they have subsequently bought state of the art machinery, two trucks and a bakkie. They are also renovating their KaBokweni plant. The businessmen have allocated themselves jobs in their company according to their previous job experience and strengths.
Malope had enrolled for a marketing diploma, but dropped out to take a job as a service consultant at a bank.
Maseko is the operations director, while Baloyi, a qualified mechanical engineer, is the technical director.
Malope says his banking experience has come in handy because it exposed him to business.
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