Sunday, September 20, 2020

Garbage In, Cash Out: UB graduate turns trash into cash

Across the globe a few smart entrepreneurs, amongst them Botswana’s Latto Mabetwa (27) are turning the huge waste we produce every day into cash-making products.

According to the World Bank, Africa generates nearly 70 million tonnes of waste every year. As the income and spending power of the average African continues to rise, more goods will be consumed leading to even more waste.

The volume of waste generated on our continent is expected to double in the coming years as Africa’s economy becomes more prosperous and the size and population of its cities explode.

In Botswana, Mabetwa (27) who hails from Lephephe village in Kweneng East District has joined other companies that ‘turn trash into cash’.

Mabetwa has a back up of a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Environmental Health the University of Botswana. Apart from his first Degree, the 27 year old also holds a certificate in Entrepreneurship from Stanford University.

Upon graduating from the University of Botswana, Mabetwa went on to work as intern Environmental Health Officer at Mahalapye Sub District Council for a period of 2 years. After servicing for two years as intern Environmental Health officer, Mabetwa says he then realised that the growing waste generation is one of the visible problems in Botswana.

Mabetwa shares the World Bank sentiment that the problem is caused by population growth, urbanization and economy development resulting in increased income among the locals.

Mabetwa says handling waste is a growing challenge for many districts in Botswana a development that pushed him to establish a waste and recycling company dubbed Ramatlakala solutions or RAMS. RAMS established in 2015 is based in Lenganeng -Tlokweng, a village situated less than a kilometre from the capital Gaborone on the eastern side.

Mabetwa explains that his company’s core aim is to reduce the negative impacts of waste by providing the means to recycle in addition educating clients about proper waste management practices.

“At RAMS we give our clients a chance to capture value from their waste while minimizing the adverse impacts of business operations on the environment. With our technical knowledge and experience in waste management and recycling, we know that each and every one of our clients has unique waste challenges and needs”, says Mabetwa.

He continues, “RAMS on-site waste assessments allow us to identify ones event waste management practices, to further introduce smart and green solution to suit ones operational day-to-day requirements”.

Further he says the company provides events of all sizes with a flexible waste and recycling solution, as the system aims to not only reduce the amount of reusable materials being sent to landfill, but also to allow clients to reduce their waste management costs by increasing the amount of recycling generated on-site.

Mabetwa notes with concern the current practice by both public and private waste management companies which collect, transport and dump waste resulting in improper waste disposal, “creating all sorts of problems such as diseases, pollution of underground and surface waste and greenhouse gases effect”.

Furthermore, landfill and dumping sites national wide are rapidly facing a capacity hold crisis mainly because of constantly increasing amount of waste disposed every day.

Therefore, Mabetwa says Ramatlakala Solutions was established by the collective inspirational of minimizing the quantity of recyclable waste materials that goes to landfill and dumping sites.

As the nation’s unemployment chorus continues to play in lips of many, RAMS has only managed to employ only three workers.

“We are still facing challenges like lack of resources so as to increase our operational activities, and we try to overcome that by trying to source funds from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA).”

For its marketing, the company currently use different social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram as well as and word of mouth to advertise its services.

As a parting shot, RAMS managing directors says, “The advice that I can give to budding entrepreneurs is that you have to eat the dream, you have to sleep the dream, you have to dream the dream, you got to touch, you have to see it when nobody else sees it, you have to feel it when it’s not tangible, You have to believe it when you cannot see it, You got to be possessed with the dream. At the end of day it is all about having faith, believing in everything you do and also have passion about your business”.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.