Eddie Kampher’s company is the only one in the Northern Cape thus far to receive a PETCO award for the Best Community Breakthrough Initiative for his Waste to Art programme, which has brought much-needed income, opportunity, innovation and hope to his community.
Kampher said he was first touched by angels three years ago when he enrolled in one of the Angels’ programmes, which are designed to assist rural and survivalist entrepreneurs to create sustainable small businesses. He was impressed by their enthusiasm for uplifting communities and vowed to take the concept further.
On completion of his training, he set up a recycling opportunity for under-resourced communities in the province. Kampher’s Waste to Art programme teaches people how to sort, clean, bale and even create functional furniture and art.30 entrepreneurs took part in the programme, they were provided with new opportunities within the waste management and are now selling to local buy-back centres and earning a monthly income.
The Waste to Art Programme structure involves providing homeless and unemployed people with a bit of skills training and plugging them into the ecosystem of recycling and buy-back.“The more we teach them about plastic, the more the tonnage changes as well. Of course, plastic is light and the effort to collect the volumes is sometimes demotivating but we persevere. We focus on unemployed youth and women, but the need is so vast that we mix the groups,” said Kampher.
Through his collaboration and excellent client relationship management with international players such as Mpact, Stridalong Recycling and Collect-a-Can South Africa, who assist with equipment and transport, for example, the Philipstown group manages up to eight tonnes of mixed, but sorted, recyclables in a month.