Recyclers say waste recycling could create hundreds of new jobs annually

Waste recyclers have asked government to invest in recycling and beneficiation of waste, stressing that increased recycling and reuse could contribute to the circular economy with the potential to create up to 100, 000 new jobs annually.

The recyclers made the sentiments in Lilongwe at the first-ever small and medium waste recyclers’ coordination workshop, which Lilongwe City Council (LCC) organized the workshop with support from a consortium of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP Lilongwe) and Oxfam Malawi.

Prasad–Malawi is losing a lot of economic opportunities by not investing in waste recycling–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

With financial support from European Union (EU) and Royal Norwegian Embassy through Tilitonse Foundation, CCJP Lilongwe and Oxfam Malawi are implementing an urban governance project to create a platform for dialogue between stakeholders in LCC following revelations that poor coordination led to compromised service delivery.

Speaking in an interview last Friday, the Managing Director for VS Farms, Kollipara Rajendra Prasad, said accelerated waste recycling and reuse is key to unlocking the possible economic opportunities in the waste sector.

Prasad added that if supported, the sector could help the government create decent employment for hundreds of idle young people in towns and cities.

Waste collectors and recyclers banging heads on how to salvage challenges affecting the sector–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

“Where I have established my company, there are no industries and a lot of people are jobless. And through the egg trays I am manufacturing from waste, I have managed to employ 27 people from the surrounding area. The number of employed people would have been bigger if we had enough resources,” he said.

Prasad added that accelerated waste recycling and reuse could help Malawi safe foreign exchange.

“If you look at the poultry industry, for example, it is growing quite a lot now. If they didn’t get enough egg trays, they will definitely depend on manufacturers across the borders. But when we have resources and waste, why can’t we use that waste to manufacture the egg trays locally and save the forex and sustain ourselves here in Malawi?” he asked.

LCC Deputy Director of Health-Cleaning Services, Thokozani Mkaka, said the council is currently building a database of waste recyclers so that it designs programmes that could spur growth of the sector.

Mkaka said the workshop was therefore organized to provide the players and council officials a platform to create linkages and find lasting solutions to improper disposal of waste in the city.

In his remarks, CCJP Lilongwe Governance Officer, Mwai Sandram, said their intention is to ensure proper management of all the waste being generated in the city.

“And the best way to manage waste is through recycling. That’s why we have supported the LCC to engage all the waste recyclers so that there is improved coordination and that there is linkage between the waste collectors and recyclers,” said Sandram.

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