In order to solve the issue of pollution in their neighbourhood, Kgabo Pila and his father took matters into their own hands and started a recycling company. The company not only recycles but also provides employment opportunities to the residents of Ebony Park, Ekurhuleni, where the business operates. Pila and his father started Dr. Pila General Cleaning and Recycling Construction in June last year, and the business has two branches, one in Ekurhuleni and the other in Mokopane, Tshwane.
Speaking to Vutivi News, Pila explained how the need for the business arose. “The idea came about when my father and I saw that there is a lot of garbage in our township, from boxes to white paper to bottles,” he said. “My father was driven to clean the area, but because he did not want to do the collecting himself, we decided to pay people in the neighbourhood to collect the garbage and bring it to us.
“We then take the material and deliver it to a nearby recycling plant; another recycling plant collects the bottles on our premises. “So far we have more than ten people collecting garbage around Ebony Park for us,” he said. Pila said that when they started, they were only collecting boxes. However, they soon saw that this alone was unprofitable. “We then decided to focus on white paper, plastic and bottles, and our profit began to increase dramatically.”
However, there have been some obstacles. “We are also faced with the challenge of not having adequate machinery to crush the bottles and compress the boxes, as at the moment we crush the bottles manually,” he said. “One of our dreams, though, is to own larger premises and proper machinery so that we can process the material on our own. We are also looking to improve our transportation to deliver and move larger quantities of recycled material.”
According to Pila, he learned the value of patience through his father in the business. “When we started the business, I thought that we were going to make a lot of money in a short space of time,” he said. “However, my father, who is a patient man, told me to focus on growing the business and on paying our workers. “He also encouraged me by assuring me that the business will grow, something that is happening today,” he said.
Pila today admits that he likes the pace at which the business is growing. “I can now confidently say that I fell in love with the process of a business growing slow because the growth is sustainable and I learned a lot about patience along the way,” he said. Their next goal is to own a warehouse and a processing plant so that they can employ more people to spread their operations to other areas in Ekurhuleni.