The view that our waste is worthless is already old news. Today South Africa is home to 43,000 “recycling hustlers” who roll out onto the streets at dawn - seven
days a week. Sifiso Ngobese, a social entrepreneur from Soweto, South Africa, has createn an organization that empowers informal waste collectors in the South Africa’s Gauteng Province.
South African waste pickers operate on the margins of the formal economy, earning just enough money to survive by sifting through trash and sorting recyclables for cash. Unfortunately, the carts that waste workers use to collect recyclables are poorly maintained and frequently break down, making an already difficult job even more challenging. What’s more, many of the carts are poorly marked in spite of the fact that they operate on busy roadways, resulting in frequent deaths and injuries.
Through his Abomakgereza (Recycling Hustlers) project, Sifiso and his partner Kutlwano Dhliwayo are working with registered waste picker collectives in Johannesburg and Soweto in order to design durable waste carts marked with reflective safety tape. The new, functional carts will keep waste pickers safe by increasing their visibility while helping them earn more money by providing a reliable means for transporting the recyclables which they collect. Additionally, Sifiso has designed the carts to include advertising space that will allow waste workers to earn supplemental income by advertising for local businesses.
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