A guest blog post by Michelle Wilson - Network Director at WasteAid
WasteAid is a UK based international NGO and has been working in South Africa for the last 2 years. Our goal is to help fast-track local solutions for the circular economy - particularly in relation to waste management. We believe that local innovations hold the key to a green economy, to driving new employment and can make the environment cleaner and healthier for the city’s population.
We are extremely pleased to be working and collaborating with a very vibrant secondary resource sector.
To give you a flavour of the type of work we have been embarking on, In 2021 WasteAid launched the Zero Waste Cities Challenge in Johannesburg, to find entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that help reduce or recycle waste and create green employment opportunities. The competition was part of WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network funded by Huhtamaki (a Finland based global packaging producer). Through the initiative 12 entrepreneurs were selected to go through Business Incubator process culminating in a ‘Shark Tank’ event in front of industry experts. Our experience convinced us of the need to increase the investment and capacity skills of small and medium enterprises working in the waste sector. Two winners were chosen.
Boombatdotmobi was set up by Sbusiso Shongwe and Nondumiso Sibiya to tackle the issue of illegal dumping in Gauteng. Their vision is to have a completely circular approach to waste management in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Currently they are connecting those who are generating waste to those who have an interest in buying, ensuring that waste is responsibly disposed of. They have been adding to their services by actually going into their local community to collect the waste from households that are not able to pay for the service. Boombadotmobi fund this service from the income they make from collecting waste from the more affluent areas. With the €10k investment they have invested in transportation that will allow them to reduce their overheads as well as increasing the reach and regularity of their services.
Bokashi Bran, another of our winners who have an ambitious vision of creating food waste entrepreneurs and food waste composters. This will have a huge impact in landfill avoidance and on our food regeneration systems. The biggest problem with food waste in South Africa is that 99% of it gets dumped at landfill where it it generates methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.
To celebrate the success so far of the Circular Economy Network in Johannesburg and to celebrate the role of entrepreneurs and innovators, WasteAid is expanding their work in Johannesburg and into Mpumalanga, with three new projects to be announced in the coming months.
All the new projects will focus on first mile waste/resource recovery services, will support the informal sector to connect with the formal markets and will focus on capital investment that can help unlock even more potential of the waste entrepreneurs.
For more information on WasteAid please contact Angela Ludek: Angela.Ludek@wasteaid.org