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The adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure holds true for some members of communities who make money through collecting and selling what others throw away.

Littered items such as papers, boxes, tins and plastic bottles have all provided a source of living for the Zibuthe Recycling Cooperative, based in KwaThema and led by Jonny Zulu.

The cooperative is made of 12 members who saw the opportunity of making a living through collecting recyclable waste material.

This cooperative has been operational since 2011. Over the years, they managed to change the mind-set of many who never considered recycling as a money-making opportunity.

Some members have previous work experience in for instance glass manufacturing that works to their advantage, as they are now able to knock on their previous employer’s door and request recycling material.

One such assistance came from Mondi Paper Company, which donated three recycling bins to the cooperative. These bins are placed at KwaThema Customer Care Centre, KwaThema Old Age Home and Pholosong Hospital in Tsakani. They are there to promote the culture of recycling to all members of the community.

Zulu appeals to more members of the community to adopt recycling adding that recycling it reduces illegal dumping.

“Ever since we began with collecting recyclable waste there has been an improvement with illegal dumping in KwaThema. Many people now realise the importance of sorting waste products for recycling purposes,” said Zulu.




PIC1: Jonny Zulu depositing recyclable boxes inside the newly donated recycling bins at KwaThema Customer Care Centre.