A 25-year-old young woman, Rotondwa Musitha, is utilising her first-hand experience and life skills, along with the skills which she acquired while studying towards a post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration, for her recycling venture.
She admits that most graduates in her line of study, and at her age, would normally be focused only on being employed and would not be seeking other means of earning a living, such as creating a job for themselves and others – let alone in collecting ‘trash’.
“I see value in collecting ‘trash’. I feel no shame in collecting what other people throw away. I see treasure in what most of people see as ‘trash’.”
She conceived the idea for recycling as a viable business when she was still studying and had to complete a module on social responsibility and environmental management. She obtained her post graduate diploma in business administration from Milpark Business School.
“I used some cash which I had invested and some which I had saved up from the job I had and also from modelling.”
She invested the savings in ‘Trash Converters’, a recycling business which she had conceived. She started working, literally picking up litter. She and her small team collect approximately eight to eleven tonnes of waste per month, walking on foot around Louis Trichardt and some surrounding villages.
“I started to do my own research on recyclable material within the province and realised that less than 2% of all recyclable material in Limpopo gets recycled. This meant that there was a gap for waste buy-back centres and an opportunity to offer environmental awareness solutions.”
“Slowly but surely, people in my community are seeing the importance of recycling and the financial gains it comes with as well as keeping the environment clean.”
Rotondwa encourages other people to follow in her footsteps.
“Before doing anything, it is important to do research on the material you want to recycle, whom you can sell to and at what cost, not forgetting the area you want to operate in to see if it will be feasible.”
She was recently awarded with a Waste Reduction Youth Warrior award (Limpopo winner) during the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) awards.
“This award means a lot to me and my team. Getting recognition from a body such as PETCO is surely a motivation for us. They are acknowledging the work we do and this encourages our future growth. It motivates us as a team to continue on the path we are on, as it goes to show that we are on the right track and we are being recognised for the difference we are making in diverting waste from the landfill.”
Rotondwa first cut her teeth in modelling where she amassed many modelling titles including: Miss Commonwealth Popularity (2014), Miss Heritage SA (2015), Miss Mamelodi Sundowns Limpopo (2016, a shared title).
She lives in Louis Trichardt, where she matriculated at Louis Trichardt High School.
Rotondwa encourages fellow youths, and women in particular, to “close their ears to the noise around them” where people tend to discourage others and focus on realising their dreams.
“Have dreams and don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done. It can – they may have failed, but you won’t. In my case, I found a niche in recycling. Picking up rubbish and making a living from it is my pride.”
Tell us: What are your views on recycling?