The Waste Takers - Recycling with PURPOSE

Setting up buyback centres in impoverished communities & recycling stations in schools.

The problem we aim to solve:

Excessive pollution & approximately 568 000 tons of waste per annum ends up at landfills. The Eastern cape is the poorest province in SA with 37.4% unemployment rate. & Recycling is underdeveloped in the EC.

The solution our project offers:

We educate & highlight the benefits & monetary value of recyclable waste. Giving hope to impoverished communities & a platform to earn a sustainable income to provide for their families. We encourage, implement & support with sustaining recycling in schools.

The impact our project had so far:

We have reached 36 schools from PE, EL & CPT through our recycling drives & recycled 50 tons of waste to date.

What we do

We offer an end-to-end recycling system, from collecting recyclable waste to adding value & supplying directly to recyclers, locally & nationally, replicating successful models already working in other major centres of South Africa.

The Waste Takers, was born in September 2012 out of Mary’s passion for educating and empowering her people by highlighting the benefits and value of recycling.

She saw how polluted her communities were, with the high poverty and unemployment rates. She made it her mission to become involved and took a leap of faith in September 2012.

She did research as to how recycling activities are doing in other major centres and through school awareness projects and events as well as facilitation and formation of informal waste collectors.

We are based in Port Elizabeth, from the Eastern Cape which is the poorest province in South Africa with an unemployment rate of 37.4%. Mary’s mission is to create a platform for our communities to earn much-needed income to feed their families. However, due to the underdeveloped recycling activities in the Eastern Cape and lack of support from local government, it is challenging to make an even greater impact.

  • Our sustainability model is that we buy in recyclable waste (glass, paper, plastic, tins, etc.) from schools and collectors from the communities.

  • We then sell to the end-user (recyclers, converters and manufacturers) at a profit.

The greater the volumes, the greater the profits. The greater the profits, the better returns we can pay our collectors so that they can earn a livable wage. We actively seek partners with business and other organisations to setup recycling stations at more schools and empower more collectors with collecting resources.

Mary’s tips to fellow social entrepreneurs:

  • It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

  • When days are dark, this is the time you will discover who your true support structures are.

  • See failures as learning curves. I’m still learning 4 years later.

  • Ask. The answer will be NO until you ask.

  • Believe in a Greater Power, cause that is what will carry you through your darkest moments, and believe me there will be dark days.

  • Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself and always remember the “WHY” you started this journey.