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Cape Town business operator’s trash recycling effort keepslocalsemployed and createsopportunities.

When does trash stop being trash?

The answer, say Cape Town entrepreneur Yoosuf Carr, is when it is turned into treasure – something that he has been doing while providing employment for people in his community.

“My business, Buraaq Logistics, has successfully supplied building materials for residential and commercial projects for two years,” says Carr. “But when lockdown began, I needed to rethink the future of my business.”

Disability is no impediment to business.

Carr, an Athlone resident who has been disabled since birth, has a heart condition, a speech impediment, and suffers from sporadic body shakes.  Despite these challenges, he runs his business.

“I initially attended a special needs primary school,” he says, “but my father sent me to a public school so that I’d be better equipped to face the challenges of life as an adult. Now, I really don’t see my disabilities as an obstacle in the business world.”

Turning trash to treasure.

“The business has two divisions: building materials and recycling. I have 25 staff – and they need their jobs,” says Carr, “so I started the recycling division. There’s always someone willing to buy or repurpose things that others throw away. And as they say: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Carr explained that he receives phone bookings, and will then travel to pick up the unwanted items and decide on the best way to utilise them.

A network of recyclers across Cape Town.

“I don’t take things to the scrapyard,” he adds, “but I do have a network of people who recycle and repurpose things, or fix them for a new lease on life. In this way I can help people earn an income. I make a profit for myself, but also for the people who recycle, resell and repurpose.”

“I collect the usual items like newspapers, bottles and plastic  – but I collect other ‘useless’ items too, like doors, windows, old electrical appliances, toilets, metal safes, broken tyres – almost anything – and I’ll pass these on to the people I think can use them.”

Carr works from a shared space in Philippi, and distributes his items from several  storage sites across Cape Town.

Lockdown meant re-thinking and planning.

“My employees deliver my building material. I sell to one of the leaders in construction that chose me as a supplier over a year ago, giving me a good opportunity. However, when lockdown began, I had to make a plan, because there was no work.  My wife lost her job and we had a child on the way.”

Carr says his plan includes directly empowering other disabled people, since he has no none on his team.

“I want to grow this part of my business, he says. “There’s trash in all Cape Town homes that can be repurposed. Everyone goes to the supermarket and has to get rid of packaging and plastic. I know how valuable this recycling is.”

Originally written by Nathan Adams, IOL

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