Mbombela youth turn recyclables into income

Recycling cans
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With unemployment standing at a staggering 27%, a group of young people in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, are taking tentative steps in cleaning the environment.

They are turning trash into income opportunities with recycle materials.

After completing her BA degree, Queen Semokwane refused to be a statistic. She started collecting and recycling material.

“I was doing a BA and after then there was no job. So I started researching what is that I can do to get an earning at the end of the day. We went to the sector of waste management and I saw the gap of collecting waste.”

Three years later, Semokwane employs nine young people and changing lives for the better. One of the employees, Precious Ndlovu, says she is now able to earn money and feed her children.

“I am a mother of two with different fathers. Why sit at home unemployed when I can come here and collect recycle materials. I can earn something, pay for my children school fee and buy them food.”

Semokwane says is passionate about the environment.

“When we collect waste, we don’t only come and take recyclables, we always keep our environment clean. It’s important to keep our environment clean; we cannot stay in a place that is a filter environment. What we would like to do is to get our people to be educated and know that recycling is the way.”

Most of the waste is going to landfills and there are slowing packing up. For these eco-warriors, a small change in our lifestyle can make a difference. Their message is collect, recycle and reuse.