Investing in waste is not a waste. There are many opportunities for young people in the waste management sector and they should grab these opportunities with both hands, according to a North West businessman. Ofentse Rabaji, who owns a waste management company, Green Innovationz, told Vutivi News that if waste was properly managed, it could also build local economies.
Rabaji was a panelist at a recent webinar hosted by the Government Communication and Information System in partnership with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. The aim of the webinar was to give youngsters information on the economic, training and funding opportunities in the waste sector, and encourage entrepreneurship to create sustainable eco-friendly jobs and drive the country’s economic growth.
Rabaji told Vutivi News that Sector Training and Educational Authorities provided many training opportunities in the environmental waste sector, while the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) offered funding. “The Department of Science and Innovation always has opportunities for those who want to be in the sector, as they are always looking for innovative ideas especially concerning waste management,” he said.
“There are also opportunities like the Bootcamp hosted by GreenMatterZA, where they shape entrepreneurs’ environmental management ideas and help them pitch for funding from potential investments,” Rabaji said the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment was also looking at launching a recycling enterprise support programme in December.
Rabaji, who has been in the sector for over two years, encouraged the youth to view waste differently. “Waste is wealth. Illegal dumping sites can be turned into platforms and activities that will contribute to the economy of the region,” he said. “They can be turned into communal gardens that will allow people in communities to access food security and entrepreneurship opportunities like starting recycling facilities where waste can be collected and a lot of money can be made,” he pointed out.
Rabaji started his company in 2019 after he graduated from the North West University with a Master’s in Environmental Management specialising in Waste Management. He decided to throw himself into the sector while he was still an intern at the CSIR. His company’s services include waste management and training, which covers environmental awareness and education. Green Innovationz also uses the discarded cloth to produce Covid-19 face masks. This prevents coloured dye in discarded cloth from washing off and running into soil and water, which is harmful to animals and people.