Collecting waste paper and cardboard is much more than a good habit and a way of keeping our environment clean. It is also the way that many enterprising people earn money. The recycling industry in South Africa already provides jobs for 100 000 people.
The people who make a living from collecting waste paper stretch from the collectors pulling their trollies through the streets all the way to the independent business owners who run trucks and collection centres.
One of the biggest supporters of these people is Mpact Recycling which collects more than 450 000 tons of waste paper and cardboard every year. Mpact has helped more than 40 entrepreneurs start recycling businesses.
Mpact Recycling uses independent contract drivers who transport the recovered waste material from various collection points right through to Mpactâ€™s paper mills. Mpact also buys its recovered paper from more than 90 independent dealers throughout the country.
Piet Matentshi and Khombisile Buthelezi are respective business owners who have successful businesses, based on Mpactâ€™s sustainable model of recycling.
Sixty-nine year old Piet Matentshi from Springs has been running a successful business collecting recovered paper around Gauteng and delivering it to Mpactâ€™s paper mills for over 10 years.
Matentshi, who was previously a driver for an international packaging and paper group, was given an opportunity to start his own business in 1998.
This has not only afforded Matentshi the opportunity to run his own business but has also enabled him to create employment opportunities for 10 other people.
Matentshi owns two trucks and collects about 10 tons of paper a day, Monday to Friday. He collects recovered paper in the Randburg and Sandton areas as well as in Germiston, Edenvale and Alberton.
â€œBeing my own boss has taught me to have self-discipline and perseverance. Budding entrepreneurs need to be aware that a successful business does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of commitment,â€ he says.
â€œThe business of recycling is what has made the difference in my life. I have been able to provide for my family, buy a house and send my children to university,â€ he says.
Matentshi has bought an extra two trucks and plans to expand his business.
Khombisile Buthelezi is the proud owner of a buy-back centre in Alberton. Buthelezi received advice, training and equipment from Mpact before opening her business in January 2004. Buthelezi now employs three people that help her run her buy-back centre.
Communities and hawkers in Alberton and surrounding areas such as Katlehong and Spruitview contribute to the successful running of this buy-back centre by delivering recyclable waste materials they collect.
Buthelezi has also opened bank accounts for her regular customers.
â€œThis buy-back centre has awarded me an opportunity to own my own business and provide for my family,â€ she says.
Mpact guarantees to purchase all the material that Buthelezi collects at her buy-back centre and in turn the continuity of her business.
Hawkers and community members that wish to be involved in recycling can deliver their recycling directly to the buy-back centre and will be paid based on the weight of their collections.
Many churches and schools also operate drop-off points for waste paper in order to raise funds. There is a list of drop-off points on the Mpact Recycling web site at mpactrecycling.co.za. You can also contact Mpact Recycling at 0800 022 112.