Company founder says: 'Manufacturing from waste materials is lucrative industry'
It is not often that someone gets an unconventional idea, it is even less common for these individuals to act on them. This is what separates Scheed Cole from so many people. A professional sculptor, painter and engineer, his passion for Jamaica and the environment led to a turning point in his life. He realised that not only does Jamaica have a high unemployment rate, but that his countrymen dispose of hundreds of thousands of waste materials per day, materials which could be used to grow the economy and provide employment.
Cole said, "China and Sweden buy waste to create raw material. According to my research, the United States government proclaimed that by the year 2030, if they can increase their recycling effort to 75 per cent, they will be able to create another 1.1 million jobs. We have to think outside the box when it comes to job creation. Recycling utilises an additional 10 persons per one person for the conventional ways we dispose of garbage right now."
His research gave him the ingenious idea to turn those waste products into profit and led to the creation of a company called 360 Recycle Manufacturing. Cole developed his first few products only a year ago in order to test the market. It was an immense success so he registered the company and has been unstoppable ever since. The process is painstaking and all 20 of his employees had to undergo vigorous training.
"We use lightweight materials that are structurally sound. We usually grind the foam boxes and mix the pieces with paper and cardboard, along with cement to create a paste. This is what we use to mould the objects for the sculptures. When it comes to structures that support their own weight such as outdoor tables and benches, we use binding wire to tie plastic bottles together. We then apply the recycle mix to bind them together by pasting around the objects. The end products are high-end and professionally made. Just because the products are made from waste materials doesn't mean they have to look like waste."
Ja needs more manufactirung
Cole insists that manufacturing from waste materials is a lucrative industry but more manufacturing needs to be done in Jamaica as that is one of the best ways to grow the economy.
"Right now, Jamaica exports far more than it imports. Our economy cannot grow like that. We are currently the only company in Jamaica that manufactures from waste materials but a lot of people do not know that we exist. There needs to be more manufacturing done and the only way is for there to be more innovation. This will spur manufacturing. Manufacturing will then increase our export. It is sad that we have to import things like drywall and plywood because if we manufactured, we could create jobs and factories for much-needed income. Innovation will lower the level of poverty and prevent our country from taking loans it clearly cannot repay. We have no intellectual property to call our own and it is destroying our economy."
360 Recycle Manufacturing is now expanding into the construction industry. They now create building blocks and panels from waste materials in order build houses and retaining walls. In fact, a model house has been constructed on the company's site built purely from these items.
According to Cole, the building blocks come in two different sizes and are made from recycled styrofoam, newspaper or any form of paper and cardboard. The blocks also have plastic bottles encased in them. The panels are made in a similar way to the blocks but are more reinforced.
Scheed Cole's passion continues to be his driving force.
"My aim is to solve ills of the nation such as crime and violence and how we dispose of our garbage. We all have to come together in order to make Jamaica a better place."