educating and empowering young people to exploit the business opportunities available in waste; hence nurture a generation of Wastepreneurs
Waste Business Hub is a startup incubator of The Greens that aims at freely training young and underprivileged youths on the business opportunities available in the domain of waste in order to alleviate poverty and curb youth unemployment, improve agriculture and biodiversity conservation, improve health and wellbeing, reduce inequalities as well as combat climate change and promote sustainable cities and communities.
The hub is training young people in the upcycling of textile and tire wastes to produce low-cost sanitary pads, blackboard dusters, pillows, mattresses, scarecrows, and our new clothing brand, “Pieces dresses” as well as Mushroom Tire Seats and Tire flowerpots. It's also collecting clothes and shoes from people who are no longer in need of and redistributing them to people in rural communities, refugee camps, prisons and orphanages, hence reducing the amount of textile materials that people burn or send to the landfill.
Cameroon is a country that has yet to establish adequate infrastructure. The unemployment rate is at 30% and with seven out of 10 young people under-employed. Cameroon is ranked 153rd on the 2016 Human Development Index, and it is estimated that 48 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. According to World Bank, the percentage of unemployed youth was 6.90% as of 2016. Besides youth unemployment and poverty, Cameroon is still underdeveloped and faces a major challenge in the hygiene and sanitation and waste management sectors. The lack of education on hygiene and sanitation and waste management as well as the absence of recycling infrastructures are greatly accelerating pollution, ill-health, poverty, and climate change. The amount of textile and tire wastes produced is rapidly increasing and more than 70% of the wastes are thrown in the landfill or burned. Waste is wasted and this explains why I want to change the situation by nurturing a generation of Wastepreneurs who will make profits while helping people and the planet
Is this proposal for a practice or a project?
What actions do you propose?
In our recent 2017 research that involved 400 Tailors/Fashion designers and households in the city of Bamenda, North West Region - Cameroon, we realized that they are more than 800 Tailors and Fashion designers in the city of Bamenda generating an average of 2 – 5kg of textile waste every week (total textile waste generated is about 1600kg – 4000kg/week) and that many of them were unaware of the environmental impact of the textile waste and the textile industry as a whole and as such, they either burned or threw their textile waste in the landfill.
In a field research, we realized that almost all the automobile tires that are collected from the city of Bamenda are dumped in a huge pile in the landfill, just waiting to be burned.
These different researches motivated us to engage in waste recycling. We will use the award to specifically embark in the training of young people in the recycling of textile waste and automobile tires.
In the textile domain, the award will be used to construct textile waste collection booths and bins, purchase weighing scales, industrial sewing machines and accessories, print textile recycling flyers and posters, purchase a 4x4 Suzuki Carry van for waste collection: while in the automobile sector we are going to use the award to purchase drilling machines, screwing machines, tire cutters and art supplies. Part of the award will be used to purchase 05 Computers that will be used by our offices to collect and store data such as information with respect to the total number of wastes we collect, the amount we upcycle as well as used to analyze all our data.
The main goals of the project Waste Business Hub are to;
- Educate and empower young people on the business opportunities available in the domain waste hence transform them to become Waste Business Entrepreneurs (Wastepreneurs) thereby reducing youth unemployment and alleviating poverty. The award will be used to train young people specifically in textile and tire recycling.
- Reduce the amount of textile and tire wastes that gets burned or go in to the landfill by more than 70%.
- Reduce the percentage of animal deaths resulting from Farmer-Animal Conflict via the provision of Scarecrows to farmers and Scarecrows Forest Fencing; hence improve biodiversity conservation.
- Improve the health and wellbeing of more than 100000 people in rural communities via donation of free cloths collected from the cities to them.
- Produce and market low cost recycled textile products such as sanitary pads as well as Mushroom Tire seats and Tire gardening pots/flowerpots.
Below is a list of some of our hub’s creative products as well as details highlighting the need, inspiration and marketing potentials of the products:
- Sanitary pads: The attainment of puberty in women is signified by menarche, the age of onset of menstruation. Many feminine hygiene products are available in the Cameroonian market, their cost ranging between $1 - $10/ napkin. With this cost profile, mostly the upper middle and high-income group women in urban areas are utilizing these disposable products. Most rural women and girls are unable to afford for these disposable products and this explains our interest to produce low-cost reusable sanitary pads from textile waste. With the award, we will be able to produce and market more than 10,000 eco-sanitary pads annually.
- Pillows and Mattresses: In Cameroon, most people in the rural communities still use grass mattresses and pillows which in most cases serve as a habitat for snakes and bed bugs. These grass mattresses sell at $10 – 15 whereas the other mattresses sell from $20 to $300 while their pillows sell from $2 - $10. Waste Business Hub strives to solve this problem, by producing low cost mattresses ($10) and pillows ($1-$5) from textile waste. With the award, we will be able to purchase machines that can be used to produce and market more than 1000 Eco-mattresses and Pillows.
- Blackboard dusters: In most schools in Cameroon, pupils and students use their hands, a piece of cloth or piece of paper to clean the chalkboard. To solve this problem, are producing and selling 5 blackboard dusters for $1 as well as training students and pupils on how to produce blackboard dusters. Our target market for this product is all the schools. With the award, we will be able to produce and market more than 100,000 blackboard dusters in schools.
- Pieces Dresses and Designers T-Shirts: The goal of pieces dresses is to provide cheap and well-designed dresses made from salvaged textile materials to people whereas the goal of Designers-T-shirts is to use textile waste to design Polo T-Shirts to become more beautiful.
- Scarecrows: The last grade of textile waste which will not be qualified to be used for the production of the aforementioned products shall be used to produce scarecrows for farmers. Farmer-animal conflict has led to the loss of most protected species. After sowing their seeds, most farmers always have conflict with animals and in most cases, these farmers always shoot and kill these animals or poison these animals because they want to protect their farms. We are producing scarecrows to scareway animals from farms hence secure agricultural productivity and reduce animal deaths resulting from farmer animal conflict.
Besides the aforementioned products, we shall also be producing and marketing dolls, dodge balls, kitchen gloves and aprons, bowties, school bags, foot warmers, and lots of creative products from textile waste and we look forward to marketing most of our products in rural communities where the community is in dire need of cheap, durable and available eco-products.
The main reason and inspiration for the production of the different upcycled tire products include;
- Mushroom Tire Seats: In most schools of the North West Region, students do not have spots to sit around the canteen during break to eat as well as do not have open spaces where they can sit under a tree to relax, read or have group work. With the award, we will be able to collect and upcycle more than 10000 tires to produce Mushroom Tire Seats.
- Tire Gardening Pots/Flowerpots: Tires are good for erosion control and can effectively be used for urban agriculture where less water is required, little or no insecticides and pesticides, reduced weed in the farm, less energy required to clean farm, leaching is controlled and composting is easy. Besides, farming in tires is neat and can be done even on paved or concreted environments. Tire gardening pots and flowerpots are cheaper, $1 and with the award, we shall upycle more than 2000 tires into gardening pots and flowerpots for sale
To realize the aforementioned goals and produce the aforementioned eco-products, we are going to be working in strong partnership with the people, the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Councils, Tailors/Fashion Designers and HYSACAM.
Some of our major actions include;
Waste Management Education: We are already educating people about the impacts of waste on flyers and posters, as well as via our weekly environmental Radio program, Green Radio which comes up every Saturday from 10:00 – 11:00AM on Abakwa FM 99.0. Our Green Radio series educates people on how they can sustainably manage their waste as well as equip them with knowledge they can use in the recycling/upcycling of certain waste such as textile waste.
Waste Management Trainings: Besides the young people who are receiving training at Waste Business Hub, we have also designed a series of trainings for young people in schools and communities. So far we have been able to train 20 students from the University of Bamenda in Tire Upcycling to produce Mushroom Tire Seats and Tire Gardening Pots. We have also conducted Tire Upcycling Trainings for students of the Environmental Clubs of Government High School Kedjom-Keku, CAMSCI and Government Technical College Nkeung. Through our Waste Management Trainings, we will be able to reach out to youths beyond our hub who are in schools and communities.
Waste Collection: As at now, we are doing small scale collection of textile waste from individuals and some tailoring workshops but with the award, we look forward to setting up textile waste collection booths and bins, acquiring a 4X4 Suzuki Carry for the transportation of the textile waste to the hub and for the redistribution of the clothes and textile recycled products to the market and beneficiary communities. We are going to work with the councils and waste management companies to assist us in the collection automobile tires and distribution to schools and beneficiary communities where will be training young people in tire upcyling for agriculture, the production of mushroom tire seats, etc.
Data Collection: Prior to starting our project, we did a textile waste research that aimed at assessing the amount of textile waste generated by fashion designers and households and this subjected us to establishing a Waste Data Collection System. With the award we will be able to purchase computers to effectively implement this data collection system.
At the waste collection end, we have put up a Waste Data Collection System that keeps track of all the waste we collect and it takes into consideration the number of people who are donating waste to us, the total number of waste items, the net weight of some of the items as well as the bulk weight of the items we receive from each individual. This keeps track of the total number of waste items we collect daily, weekly, monthly and yearly and gives us information about the total number of waste we collect, the persons who donated the waste as well as the weight of the waste.
At the waste upcycling end, we have a Waste Upcyling Data Analysis and Collection System that takes into account the amount and weight of waste material in an upcycled product as well as the number of products produced per kilograms of waste collected. This system also registers the number of beneficiaries of each product, as well as the number of upcycled products each beneficiary receives. It further registers the total number of upcyled products that beneficiaries resend to the hub for further upcycling.
Our data collection systems give us accurate information about the total number of items we are upcycling and their net weight; and this serves as a tool for us to be able to calculate the quantity of greenhouse gases we are preventing from polluting the atmosphere. It is thanks to this data that we can say for sure how much quantity of greenhouse gases we have prevented from getting into the atmosphere, the amount of water pollution we have reduced, the amount of trees we have saved and the quantity of insecticides and pesticides we have reduced in the growing of materials needed for the production of new clothes.
The data collection systems also gives as accurate information about the total number of people in the region who are supporting upcycling and going green as well as the total number of beneficiaries our project is reaching out to. It is thanks to this data collection system that we can say that we have changed the lives of people and the planet.
Besides waste collection and upcyling data, we are also keeping track by registering the total number of young people we are training in the hub and in communities. This gives us the direct number of Waste Business Entrepreneurs (Wastepreneurs) we are training.
Recycling: Upon collection of the textile waste from homes and tailoring/fashion designers’ workshops, the hub team shall begin by sorting the waste products. Clothes and shoes which are still in good shape as well as those that can be mended will be mended, cleaned, packaged and redistributed to people in prisons, refugee camps, orphanages and rural communities who do not have for free. The remainder will be upcycled to the aforementioned products above.
Marketing: Marketing shall mostly be done in schools and rural communities.
Who will take these actions?
Waste Business Hub is a startup incubator of The Greens and is going to be led by Ngalim Franklin Njaiwo (Mr.Green), Founder/Executive Director of The Greens. The Greens is a youth environ-agricultural and health organization that connects, inspires and collaborates with young change-makers to build thriving, just and sustainable ways of life for all:www.thegreens-international.org.
Under the leadership of Mr. Green, Waste Business Hub has already acquired industrial sewing machines and other machines and the hub is currently training 10 young girls on textile recycling and fashion designing. The Greens’ team will be responsible for the collection of the textile waste, whereas members of the hub shall sort and recycle the waste and then hand it over to The reens’ team to redistribute the clothes and shoes and also market the products from the hub. We look forward to working in close collaboration with HYSACAM, the company managing waste in Bamenda, to assist us in the collection of some of the textile waste whereas we shall work with the local councils to assist us in the redistribution of some of the clothes and shoes to prisons, orphanages, refugees and people in rural communities.
Where will these actions be taken?
The Greens’ Waste Business Hub is located at S-Bend Mile Nkwen, Bamenda North West Region and the project targets collecting textile waste from the city of Bamenda. The primary beneficiary councils that the project is collecting textile waste from include Tubah Council and Bamenda 1, 2 and 3 Councils. The principal beneficiaries of the project in terms of redistribution of the clothes and shoes shall include all prisons, orphanages, refugee camps and typical rural communities of the North West Region of Cameroon whereas the marketing of the recycled products shall primarily target the rural markets of the North West Region. The sale of scarecrows shall primarily target forest adjacent farmers of the region
In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.
No country selected
No country selected
No country selected
No country selected
What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?
Reduction and reuse are the most effective ways we can save natural resources, protect the environment, save money and fight climate change. Some of the major benefits of Waste Business Hub include;
- Prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials
- Saves energy
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Saves money
- Reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators
- Allows products to be used to their fullest extent
According to our recent research that that involved 400 Tailors/Fashion designers and households in the city of Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon, we realized that they are more than 800 Tailors/Fashion designers in the city of Bamenda generating an average of 2 – 5kg of textile waste every week with a total of about 1600kg – 4000kg of textile waste generated every week. More than 70% of these waste generators were unaware of the environmental impact of textile waste and the textile industry as a whole. We also realized that lots of city dwellers in the Bamenda Municipality throw away or burn more than 30% of the clothes in their closet that they don't want and burn more than 80% of their torn or faded clothes whereas more than 70% of textile waste generated from tailoring/fashion designers workshops are either burned or thrown in the landfill. In a field research, we realized that almost all the automobile tires that are collected from the city of Bamenda are dumped in a huge pile in the landfill, just waiting to be burned. However, we also realized that almost everything can be repurposed in some way.
Waste Business Hub makes it easy to keep textiles out of landfills by placing Textile Collection Booths and Bins in convenient locations. Every kilogram of clothing collected by Waste Business Hub translates directly into significant environmental benefits with the most important impact being to stop the acceleration of climate change. When solid wastes such as textiles are buried in landfills they release greenhouse gases as they decompose, including methane, a particularly destructive substance. Similarly, at the other end of the clothing life-cycle spectrum, the production of textile fibers and the manufacture and transportation of cloth burns considerable quantities of fuel that releases CO2 into the atmosphere.
Approximately 3-4 pounds of CO2 are saved for every pound of clothing that is spared from disposal. This means that Waste Business Hub at its start-up phase is currently saving 360-480 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere for every 120 pounds of clothing/textile pieces we collect and recycle every month. As our hub continues to grow, we look forward to recycling at least 5000 pounds of textile waste every month.
Besides textile waste, we have already upcycled more than 1000 automobile tires and look forward to upcycling thousands of tires.
What are other key benefits?
Besides stopping climate change, the project shall greatly reduce the amount of land required for landfills, reduce the need for growing more cotton, hence reduce the amount of insecticides released in the environment during the process of growing cotton, reduce the burden on HYSACAM in collecting waste as well as reduce water consumption and pollution by the textile industry.
Speaking of waterways, according to the World Bank, 17-20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to textile dyeing and treatment. In addition, the production of fabric consumes a surprising quantity of fresh water. Away from the various environmental benefits, the project also brings a lot of health, agricultural and economic benefits.
With respect to health, the project is going to improve the health of people who do not have dresses such as orphans and vulnerable children, prisoners and refugees by providing them with free or cheap dresses, hence reduce the amount of persons suffering from common cold, pneumonia and other diseases associated with weather conditions.
The project is greatly going to increase the health and wellbeing of women and girls by providing them with cheap and reusable eco-sanitary napkins. When girls don’t have access to sanitary pads or a safe and clean place at school to change them, it becomes a reason to keep them home. When they start missing a few days every month, they fall behind, and may eventually drop out. By providing cheap and reusable sanitary napkins, the project shall boost the pride and self-confidence of women and girls and keep most of them in school.
With respect to agriculture and biodiversity conservation, the project is going to provide farmers with scarecrows to implant in their farms to scare away fauna species that eat their seeds and crops hence reduce the number of deaths resulting from farmer-animal conflict and increase agricultural productivity.
With respect to economy, the project is going to reduce the number of unemployed youths by training them to become Wastepreneurs hence reduce the poverty associated with youth unemployment and also boost the economy of the city via the establishment of new businesses and sale of new products from waste. It’s also going to improve the living standards of people in the rural communities by providing them with simple and affordable products.
Finally, the project is going to make our city cleaner and more sustainable.
What are the proposal’s projected costs?
Winning the award will enable us to purchase the following equipment to improve the project’s productivity;
- Two Industrial Sewing Machines (1000USD)
- 3 Singer Sewing Machines (600USD)
- 1 Zigzag Stitching Machine (400USD)
- 1 buttonhole Machine (100USD)
- 10 sets of Singer Sewing Scissors Set (200USD)
- Blisstime Tailor Sewing Flexible Tapes (50USD)
- Sewing Pins and Needles (100USD)
- Glue (100USD)
- Sewing Stiff (200USD)
- Button Printing Machine (500USD)
- Sewing threads (250USD)
- Construct 10 Textile Waste Collection Boxes where people can deposit their used cloths for easy collection (2000USD)
- Purchase a 4X4 Suzuki Carry for the collection and distribution of cloths and products of Waste Business Hub (3000USD)
- Purchase 05 Computers, a projector, and Internet device and connection to train the Wastepreneurs on ICT as well as for data collection and analysis. (750USD)
- Purchase drilling machines, screwing machines, tire cutters and art supplies for tire upcycling: (400USD)
Rents and Others: (350USD)
The short term impacts of the project include;
- Train at least 10 Wastepreneurs every year. We are looking forward to training at least 100 Waste Business Entrepreneurs in 10 years and these Wastepreneurs are expected to train other wastepreneurs, hence we look forward to having at least 500 wastepreneurs within a period of 10 years. This will greatly reduce youth unemployment and alleviate poverty to a greater extent.
- Recycle at least 60000 pounds of textile waste every year. This implies we shall be saving about 180000 - 240000pounds of Carbondioxide from getting to the atmosphere every year; hence greatly mitigate climate change.
- Improve the health and wellbeing of more than 100000 persons every year with free clothes and shoes hence reduce the amount of persons who suffer from weather related diseases such as common cold, pneumonia etc
- Reduce the amount of textile waste that gets burned or thrown in the landfill in Bamenda by more than 70%, hence significantly reduce the amount of Green House Gases textile waste generates.
- Upcycle at least 20,000 Tires annually to produce Mushroom Tire Seats and Tire Gardening Pots/Flowerpots.
- Train 1000 young people in schools and communities in textile and tire upcycling.
- Reduce the percentage of animal deaths resulting from Farmer-Animal Conflict via the provision of Scarecrows to farmers and Scarecrows Forest Fencing; hence improve biodiversity conservation and agricultural productivity.
In the long term, the short term impacts of the project will be greatly multiplied and there will be zero textile waste in the city of Bamenda in the North West Region of Cameroon.
I look forward to training more young persons in tire recycling, plastics recycling, and organic manure production. In 30 - 50 years, there will be no waste in the city of Bamenda and all waste will be treasure.
About the author(s)
Ngalim Franklin (Mr. Green) is a grassroots environmentalist who is Founder/President of The Greens and a Geology teacher with 8 years’ experience. Born on the 27th of January 1985 in Bamenda - Cameroon, he sailed through education to hold a B.Sc in Environmental Science and Water Resource Management and a Secondary and High School Teachers' Diploma (DIPES 1) in Geology. Married and a father of two, Mr. Green is resident in Bamenda Cameroon.
After researching, Mr. Green realized that waste provides a lot of economic opportunities that can help people and the planet which is why he started Waste Business Hub; a startup incubator that educates young people on the different business opportunities in the domain of waste. The first phase of the hub focuses on textile waste. Every day, thousands of textile waste are burned or thrown in the landfill: Growing in a poverty stricken community that is plagued by very high levels of youth unemployment and increasing environmental challenges, Mr. Green realized from research that waste provides a huge resource that can curb youth unemployment, reduce poverty and tackle the different environmental challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, ill-health and pollution that were affecting his community
"I realized that tons of textile waste from homes and tailoring workshops are burned or thrown in the landfill whereas thousands of people especially in rural communities still lack cloths, schools have no blackboard dusters, people still sleep on grass mattresses, etc and that is why i decided to take action" says Mr. Green.
Mr. Green has explored waste and has tried, tested and worked with textile, tires, plastic, organic and different waste products and that is why he has decided to teach young people via Waste Business Hub on the different business opportunities available in the domain of waste. He wants to nurture a generation of Waste Business Entrepreneurs (Wastepreneurs) who will help people and the planet.