The pulp and paper industry is one of the largest employers in South Africa, making a significant yearly contribution to the economy of about R35.26-billion, says the Paper and Recycling Association of South Africa (Prasa).
Paper and plastic packaging manufacturer Mpact plays a significant part in creating important employment opportunities in the paper recycling sector, says Mpact Recycling MD John Hunt.
He notes that empowerment and enterprise development is central to the group’s strategy for its recycling business.
Mpact Recycling uses independent contract drivers to execute its recycling collection strat- egy. These owner-drivers transport the recov- ered waste material from various collection points to Mpact’s three paper mills in Felixton, in KwaZulu-Natal, Piet Retief, in Mpuma-langa and Springs, in Gauteng.
Hunt adds that Mpact Recycling buys recovered paper from more than 90 indepen-dent dealers in South Africa.
“Our national footprint includes community recycling and collection projects throughout South Africa – an essential element of enterprise development.”
He highlights that the company has an important role to play in ensuring that opportunities are made available for entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses.
“Through our continued support, we hope that these businesses will not only be sustainable but also lead to more job creation,” says Hunt.
From Truck Driver to Business Owner
Business owners Piet Matentshi and Khombisile Buthelezi are examples of the success achieved through Mpact’s sustainable model of recycling.
Hunt says 69-year-old Matentshi, from Springs, has been running a successful business collecting recovered paper and delivering it to Mpact’s paper mills for more than ten years.
“He previously was a driver for an international packaging and paper group, and was given an opportunity to start his own business in 1998. This has not only afforded Matentshi the opportunity to run his own business but has also enabled him to create employment opportunities for ten other people,” highlights Hunt.
Matentshi owns two trucks and collects about 10 t/d of paper in the Randburg and Sandton areas, as well as in Germiston, Eden-vale and Alberton, from Monday to Friday.
“My day starts at 07:00 and only ends once I have finished all my collections in the respective areas. I have two drivers and eight assistants who work with me to recover paper for Mpact.
“Being my own boss has taught me to have self-discipline and perseverance. Budding entrepreneurs need to be aware that a successful business does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of commitment,” he states.
Matentshi explains that the business has made a difference to his life, as he can provide for his family and send his children to university.
“There is absolutely no stress in this business and I feel motivated to carry on. Greater participation is needed at a community level, which will create more jobs for others,” he emphasises.
Matentshi recently bought two additional trucks and plans to expand his business.
Meanwhile, Buthelezi owns a buy-back centre in Alberton, on the East Rand.
Buthelezi received advice, training and equipment from Mpact before opening her business in January 2004. She currently employs three people who help her run the buy-back centre and has also opened bank accounts for her regular customers.
Communities and hawkers in Alberton and the surrounding areas, such as Katlehong and Spruitview, contribute to the successful running of her buy-back centre by delivering recyclable waste materials they have collected.
“My centre is open from 07:00 to 16:30 from Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays from 08:00 to 14:00. I collect paper, glass and plastic,” says Buthelezi.
She emphasises that her buy-back centre has provided her with an opportunity to own her own business and provide for her family.
Mpact’s guaranteed buying of all the material that Buthelezi’s buy-back centre collects, provides sustainability for her business.
Buthelezi explains that hawkers and commu- nity members deliver their collected material to the buy-back centre and get paid based on the weight of their collections.