PHOTO: The ‘trikeneurs’ are sourced through referrals from buy-back centres. They’re supplied uniforms, monthly stipends and a tricycle with bins to collect waste. There are 26 000 mobile waste pickers in SA who are desperate to work – not only does this project create jobs but also protects the environment.
TO most, waste-pickers or recyclables collectors are simply anonymous city dwellers, who emerge on rubbish collection day to trawl through bins – picking out anything to be sold and recycled. Phahama, an organisation for the upliftment of individuals in the waste industry, has shifted the way waste pickers operate with the Phahama Pedal Power Project.
The project, founded by Clive Harding, builds tricycles and loans them free-of-charge to homeless waste collectors, who sell their wares to be recycled by manufacturers. Through the project, local businesses can sponsor tricycles branded with their logos and information – and thus create a new and innovative form of advertising that’s as philanthropic as it is effective.
Sponsoring a Phahama tricycle for the Cycle for Recycle initiative turns a waste collector into an entrepreneur on the road, with a tricycle that improves their productivity and income, whilst also addressing waste management and providing advertising for businesses looking to get their name out there.
The ‘trikeneurs’ are sourced through referrals from buy-back centres. They’re supplied uniforms, monthly stipends and a tricycle with bins to collect waste. There are 26 000 mobile waste pickers in SA who are desperate to work – not only does this project create jobs but also protects the environment.
The project assists these individuals with self-sustaining micro-businesses and an opportunity for growth. The tricycles are easier to move, have a triple breaking system and can carry up to 300kg. Waste collectors are held accountable, reporting back to project co-ordinators on a regular basis.
Many waste pickers are homeless, so the Phahama project has also partnered with Good Night South Africa, who create and distribute back-pack beds. Each of the beneficiaries of the project will also receive a back-pack bed.
The Phahama Pedal Power Project has been rolled out in two provinces so far. In Gauteng, with 12 tricycles and in the Western Cape, with 11 tricycles – with hopes to expand throughout the country.
The target, at the time of writing, was to secure 35 more tricycles by the end of July. There are currently 20 entrepreneurs in the project, 80% being women who are actively involved in the project in Braamfischerville and Soweto.