Through research, innovation, skills development and corporate contribution, carbon tax training and consulting services expert 5inc is well placed to create jobs and skills development opportunities through projects based on waste collection and upcycling.
“Since the organisation’s inception in March last year, 5inc and corporate companies are collaborating to upcycle corporate waste into products that can either be reused by the company or sold by individuals for an income,” 5inc MD Yasmine Miemiec tells Engineering News.
Corporations produce large masses of waste material that, ultimately, end up in landfills on a daily basis. Miemiec states that the benefits of upcycling, namely that it eliminates the energy cost that is required to recycle and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, are introduced to corporate companies.
“We take corporate waste and turn it into new, reusable products using the waste material that we receive from corporate companies or that we find when we do community clean-ups. We then train individuals to create products that are sold back to corporations, which can be used for events or corporate gifting.”
5inc makes paper-based products, such as paper bead jewellery, seed bombs made out of disposable paper cups, décor using succulent plants, cups and vases out of wine bottles, as well as solar cookers from wood, and eco-bricks.
“Corporate companies may have a corporate social investment or a socioeconomic development programme, whereby it contributes a percentage of its profit to training unemployed people. 5inc then approaches the corporate company to run either of the programmes using the waste produced by a company to create products or 5inc uses the funding from a company to pay a stipend to individuals,” Miemiec explains.
Corporate companies are, therefore, the main source – be it through financial funding, the buying of corporate gifting or providing waste materials – for 5inc.
Upcycling enables not only corporations to reuse the products but also individuals to sell them, therefore creating new revenue streams and job opportunities. Individuals learn a skill, generate a new product and sell it for a profit, she states.
Further, 5inc’s initiatives are family-oriented, as the company believes this is where education, recycling awareness and skills development stem from. Children are encouraged to collect and bring waste materials and parents do the same in return for food parcels.
“This teaches children from a young age not to litter and that you can use waste materials as resources. The children are very enthusiastic about our projects and assist in making eco-bricks,” says Miemiec.
The company also works with social workers to recruit unemployed individuals to learn and create new products and get involved in them.
“Additionally, if a corporate company is located in a specific area, it may nominate its surrounding community members to be taught specific skills. Then, through the company providing waste materials to the community, they can upcycle the waste materials into usable products that can be returned to the company.”
As skills development is the primary driving force behind 5inc, the company outsources facilitators who train unemployed individuals to make certain products, Miemiec adds.
She states that training is open and available to all. “Individuals who have funds to pay for training are more than welcome to join, and unemployed individuals are free to join training sessions when it is scheduled.”
The company launches marketing strategies aimed at gaining not only financial sponsorship but also waste material.
“At 5inc, we use our business development model and marketing to reach out to large corporations and individuals who wish to contribute waste materials through social media.”