Youth co-operative using waste to uplift the community

Koketso Mogale and his two colleagues, Simon Phungwayo and Smanga Nkosi, are micro collectors who collect waste tyres. Koketso shares his journey of being a young micro collector and finding the opportunity to start a co-operative.

Our company, Easy Touch Primary Co-operative, operates in the Winterveldt, Pretoria, Soshanguve and Mabopane areas. The group is not only cleaning the community but also creating job opportunities for about 50 unemployed youth who have joined as part of the co-operative.

Forming the co-operative is an opportunity for us to assist in reducing the unemployment rate in our community. Most of the people we work with are unemployed youth who need to raise extra money for transport costs to get to college.

My friends and I are happy to have identified an opening that allows us to work within our community and also earn an honest living, enabling us to put food on the table for our families. We have also been able to show unemployed youth that there are prospects in sectors such as waste, and we hope to grow our business and to employ more people.

Millions of people worldwide make a living collecting, sorting, recycling, and selling materials that someone else has thrown away. There is a growing recognition that micro collectors do contribute to the local economy, to public health and safety, and to environmental sustainability. Although many view this job as dirty there has to be someone willing to get the job done and I would encourage everyone to actively seek opportunities available in waste.