In 2016, members of The National Recycling Forum (NRF) focused their efforts on supporting young recycling entrepreneurs with their growing businesses. One such company is Destination Green Recycling led by Faith Diketane and Zwelibanzi Mnguni.
Aside from having made a positive impact on the communities within which they operate, these young entrepreneurs have also used their business skills to make valuable and extraordinary contributions to recycling within these communities, making them crucial contributors to the journey towards “zero waste” – ensuring that no recyclable materials end up in landfills. These youth leaders are at the forefront of the sustainability movement towards a healthier, living planet, carving out a path for their peers to follow.
Faith Diketane and Zwelibanzi Mnguni grew up in Tembisa, a township east of Johannesburg. Having been exposed at an early age to an environment where people lived in poverty in an under-developed area, with poor infrastructure and a lack of basic necessities, both Faith and Zwelibanzi felt it was their duty to bring about positive change within their community to benefit the people they encountered on a daily basis.
During her final year of study at the University of Witwatersrand, one of Faith’s study modules exposed her to prominent environmental issues. As part of the study material, students were asked, “What are you going to do?”
For Faith, this question challenged her and reminded her of her desire to give back to the community in which she was raised and to respect the environment in which she lived. When her friend, Zweli, approached her with an idea to improve the recycling activities on campus, she jumped at the opportunity.
The two inspired students began collecting recyclable materials on campus with the intention of recycling them. They noticed that the University had provided a basic infrastructure for recycling, but their fellow students were not making use of the bins provided. This puzzled them and they decided to put their skills to use and initiated a feasibility study to determine what the barriers were that were inhibiting a properly functioning recycling system on campus in the hope that they would find a solution. Their research gave them a better understanding of recycling and helped them to identify companies and organisations they could approach for support.
Once they had graduated, Faith and Zweli decided that they would use their qualifications and the skills and knowledge gained through their study to start Destination Green Recycling, a company aimed at identifying the issues and barriers faced within their local community with regards to recycling. Through comprehensive research, they hoped to implement strategies that would lead to effective and sustainable solutions that would not only benefit the community in Tembisa, but would also have a positive effect on the environment in which the residents of the township live.
Not only were these two young champions passionate about implementing real change within the community, but they were also determined to educate the people within the community about the environmental issues the community was facing and inspiring the community members to be part of the solution. As they worked towards solutions in collaboration with members of the community, more issues were identified. Their passion and commitment to finding solutions inspired their family, friends and other members of the community to get involved.
Destination Green Recycling is now a sustainable and thriving business, led by the youth and supported by the community and a number of other businesses operating within the recycling industry. They are driven to find solutions that will result in environmental sustainability and benefit the community in which they operate.
As Faith says,”Recycling is everyone’s responsibility. It starts with you.”