There are numerous opportunities for work in the green economy and young and old need to be trained to utilise those.
There is ongoing training happening to empower entrepreneurs and youth in the waste managment and recycling sector. Two recycling organisations – that for PET plastic, PETCO, and that for paper, PRASA, have formed a training partnership to drive this training.
“The youth of South Africa are faced with the threat of unemployment in their adult lives. We see these training programmes as an opportunity to enable young people to secure their own futures and to highlight the opportunities that lie in the green economy, and in particular, in the collection and recycling sector,” says Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO.
Managing solid waste involves a complex system, and education is a crucial component of the process. A solid understanding of recycling and waste management is necessary to enter or advance in the industry.
Complex made simple to understand
The training – which takes place over four days – provides a structured and comprehensive yet practical approach on a variety of key business basics. These include, among others, paper and liquid carton collection and recycling, PET recycling, entrepreneurship and small business basics, business communication, research and planning and basic business finance.
Through the training, PRASA promotes the renewability and recyclability of paper products both locally and in collaboration with industry associations around the world. PETCO aims to minimise the environmental impact of post-consumer PET on the South African landscape by achieving sustainable growth in Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic recycling; supporting existing and encouraging new PET collection and recycling networks; and promoting consumer education and awareness programmes.
It therefore stands to reason that the two organisations can benefit by working together.
PRASA presents entrepreneurship courses to people who have the potential to increase their earnings by improving their recovery and proper sorting of recyclables from households and businesses. The training targets unemployed people using various civil society organisations including youth centres, faith groups and local industry organisations as conduits. Partnerships with local municipalities are also a very important part of this training.
Future entrepreneurs are alerted to some of the benefits of establishing a co-operative, which could stand them in good stead in the future, by working collaboratively.
Success stories abound
Thanks to the combined efforts of PRASA and PETCO, the recovery of recyclables is gaining momentum in Springbok, a town situated in the heart of the Northern Cape’s Namaqualand spring-flower country. The unemployment rate in the Northern Cape is 26.5%, and with Springbok situated a respective 776km, 932km and 1,160km from Kimberly, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, recycling presents a valuable opportunity for job creation and income generation.
Following PRASA’s entrepreneurship course, 20 local residents have committed to using recycling as the medium through which they can gain a regular income.
“We were vastly impressed by the ‘can-do’ attitude of participants and the way they bonded to translate ideas into income-generating action,” says PRASA operations director Ursula Henneberry. “At the conclusion of the course, participants immediately formed a huddle to plot the way forward, and one woman even planned to set forth to collect refuse from her local spaza store the very next day,” says Ursula.