Making a living by recycling

Ben Mlambo recycles paper for a living.

Losing his job didn’t stop Ben Mlambo from making a living for himself and providing for his family.

Four years ago, after Mlambo was retrenched from work he found comfort in talking to other recyclers.

“I kept seeing recyclers pass by my house every week and for a while I thought they were just collecting garbage for the municipality,” says Mlambo.

As months swept by, household finances kept weighing Mlambo down until he sought advice from the recycler who encouraged him to start his own journey collecting things that needed to be recycled.

His colleagues (as he refers to them) were collecting plastic and glass bottles only and after several discussions with them, he thought he should join them to collect paper and boxes from companies in Springs.

“I take this job very seriously. It is an office job because I have dedicated my time and it also helps me to put food on the table for my family,” says Mlambo.

Mlambo receives R60 for each bag of paper and boxes he collects.

“When the bag is full I get paid according to the weight of the bag which is a lot because I collect more than three bags a day.”

Although motorist and residents may complain that recyclers cause more traffic on roads when they push their trolleys, Mlambo rejoices because he knows he has provided for his family.

“At the end of the day it gives me joy. Even when it’s raining I wake up and collect as much as I can because without me, my family would starve.”

“A dog leaps on its own in the right direction and that’s what I intend to do for the rest of my life,” says Mlambo.

Palesa Mokhitli

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