Sunday, October 17, 2021

Creating wealth out of waste

Recognising and overcoming the common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive, so says Bonani Busani.

Busani is the managing director and co-founder of Litter Kings; a company which deals primarily with refuse collection in Gaborone and surrounding areas has learnt that growing businesses face a range of challenges. Thus as business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might now be not the best approach.

Crucially, Busani says there is need to ensure that the steps you take today don’t themselves create additional problems for the future. Effective leadership will help you make the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future.

“We started operating in 2013, then just like any other new SMME, we did not perform well and closed but we revamped the business in August 2017. The challenges in the business have helped us grow and have also led us into other territories of waste like recycling, which helps reduce our trips to the landfill,” says the 30 year old.

The company collects and disposes garden waste, domestic waste and commercial waste. Busani says they offer a monthly subscription service as well as once off collections as they are slowly channeling their efforts towards recycling and currently recycle about 90% of the garden waste they collect by composting.

His partners are Ogorogile Bahumi and Mwamba Nsebula both 30 years of old and have 5 individuals that help with the day to day running of the business.

“The reason we decided to start a business was fueled by unemployment. We explored various ways in which we could earn money. What led us to waste collection was sitting at our doorstep, while the council at the time was not collecting well and the streets were dirty. We structured a deal to borrow a truck, got licensed and Litter Kings was born,” Busani says.

He says they are currently working on fully recycling plastic waste that is the plastic will be reused for consumption in Botswana and not exported.

However Busani noted that people lack awareness, “There are many innovative methods of recycling which have not been explored. The government can assist by raising public awareness about issues associated with recycling, fly tipping and general concern for the environment.”

He says a lot of people keep huge piles of garden waste in their backyards and these attract snakes, cockroaches and termites. Later on they would then burn these piles and create air pollution.

Meanwhile they have high hopes about the trajectory of their business as they believe they will be able to complete the value chain.  “We collect the waste, recycle the waste and sell it back to the public,” Busani says.

When giving advice to any budding entrepreneur he urged that, “one should know that entrepreneurship is very difficult but one must stay in business, do not give up, keep your phone line open, be intentional, collaborate and stay humble as dirty hands are a sign of clean money”

Regardless of all the challenges in their business Busani, studied at Monash University South Africa pursuing a degree in economics and management, then studied at Ba Isago University pursuing a degree in Real estate. And he says he was also a very talented sportsman as in 2006 to 2007 he was Captain of the under 19 National Squash Team which represented Botswana in the Junior All Africa games.

LITTLE INFORMATION ON WASTE

A report titled ‘Botswana’s strategy for waste management,’ state that Botswana currently have very little information on quantities of waste as it is human nature to want to ignore something which is no longer useful.  Its estimation indicate that the total amount of solid waste disposed of at landfill sites is around 325,000 tonnes a year, excluding mining wastes.  This amounts to about 0.67 kg per person per day.

From the statistics it has been valued that in the major cities and towns, such as Gaborone, Francistown and Lobatse, most waste is delivered to the local authority disposal site.

The statement continues saying, “however, in larger villages about 60% of households receive a collection service, in the smaller villages, this figure falls to 7% and in rural areas there is little service. On this basis, only 38% of the 250,000 tonnes of household waste are actually delivered to disposal sites and the remainder just “disappears” into the environment. The collection service itself is acceptable in most parts of the larger cities and towns but not in the low income areas or in the villages and rural areas.”

This shows that whilst we know of no way of eliminating waste production entirely, we can certainly make our waste production and management more sustainable.

“To do this, we must first reduce the amount of waste we produce. Secondly, we must make the best use of the waste that is produced and finally we must choose waste management practices which minimize the risks of harm to the environment and human health,” the report concluded.

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