Green-entrepreneurship: A Thursdate to Reuse, Refuse, Reduce and Recycle

“The only thing you can’t recycle is wasted time” – Anonymous

Procrastination and polluting the planet are birds of a feather; they are both a waste of time – they should be eliminated or reduced as far as possible.

Believe it or not, it is possible to save time and the planet at the same time – and make money while doing so. But how exactly can one do that? One word, green-entrepreneurship.

Wait, what is Green-entrepreneurship?

Green-entrepreneurs create products, services or processes that benefit the environment by eliminating or reducing the negative impact of waste material. This is mostly done through the 6 R’s of sustainability – reusing, repair, recycle, rethink, refuse and reduce. Green-entrepreneurs actively seek novel, creative and innovative ways to solve existing environmental issues.

This is a follow up to the article Reuse, Refuse, Reduce and Recycle with Co.Space. We continue to celebrate National Clean Up & Recycle Week SA and Recycle Day SA by shining a much needed light on green-entrepreneurship. Let’s take a closer look at green-entrepreneurship in action by looking at some noteworthy green-entrepreneurs who turned waste into successful entrepreneurial ventures:

Informal recycling – Sifiso Ngobese, Abomakgereza Project

We’ve all seen a guy or two with a trolley dumpster diving and sorting through waste to find recyclable materials that can be taken to a plant in exchange for a small amount of cash. Believe it or now, their small efforts make a big difference in the South African recycling space. Informal recyclers face unique challenges, including poor traffic visibility, safety concerns and often having their trolleys break down. That is where Sowetan entrepreneur, Sifiso Ngobese comes in; he came up with a solution for issues faced by informal recyclers. This creative entrepreneur created a bigger, better, safer and stronger trolley that helps them to increase their income by allowing adverts. Today, Sifiso has partnered with both Red Bull and Nedbank to roll out these trolleys across the lengths and breaths of South Africa with an estimated number of over 8000 informal recyclers.

Fun fact: Sifiso Ngobese is a Bcom Econometrics (Hons) graduate who resigned from his banking job and moved back to Soweto to start the Abomakgereza Project

Recycling and reusing – Thato Kgatlhanye & Rea Ngwane – Repurpose School bags

In August, we profiled 3 inspirational young female entrepreneurs as part of our Women’s Day Special blog post and two of the three women were Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane. These inspiring women started an is an organisation called Repurpose of Schoolbags; it is through this organisation that they recycle plastic bags and turn them into school bags for primary school pupils. Wait that’s not all, these school bags also have a retro-reflective design for visbility in traffic and a solar panel that charges every time the pupil walks to school. They can generate up to 12 hours of power to help provide light for the pupils when they get home to study.

Fun fact: Thato Kgatlhanye & Rea Ngwane featured on Forbes’ 30 most promising entrepreneurs under 30 in Africa for 2016

Concrete Recycling – Craig Allen & Andries Olivier, Eco-Match

Eco-match provides environmental management services within the mining, industrial and construction sectors. It provides consulting and industrial waste recycling such as concrete recycling services. These entrepreneurs believe that even buildings that have been crashed into thousands of pieces can be given a second chance through recycling.

Fun fact: Did you know that recycled concrete can be used as a base for roads, building retainer walls to concrete pipes?

What does it take to become a Green-entrepreneur?

If you have a novel, creative or innovative idea for a green business, sometimes all it takes is the decision to try. Being determined and committed to solving existing and potential social and environmental issues also helps when it comes to green-entrepreneurship. You also need to have strong entrepreneurial traits and skills such as calculated risk taking, and sound financial management.

Inspired to start your own green business? We have your back, with our various unit sizes you will find the right space for you and your green business. Send us your details and we’ll help you find the right office, workshop, showroom, studio, storage and parking space for you or your business.