Recycling business provides employment in inner cities
Residents of some low-income communities in the Corporate Area are benefiting from the ingenuity of Scheed Cole, whose recycling business employs more than 20 of them in transforming waste material into sculptures and other products.
The company, 360 Recycle Manufacturing, which is located on Rousseau Road in Kingston, provides jobs for residents of Arnett Gardens, Maxfield Avenue, Lyndhurst Road and Spanish Town Road.
Cole, a former inner-city teacher who hails from Olympic Way in St Andrew West Central, believes in the holistic transformation of those communities and has decided to train and employ persons residing in them.
"I wanted it [the business] to target people of low-income zones. Persons from the communities are given an opportunity first, to be employed by me. Our aim is to create 360 Recycle Manufacturing centres in low-income areas, because it's a form of renewed employment we want on a national level," he said.
Cole's company uses ground glass, metal, styrofoam lunch boxes, and pieces of paper and cardboard mixed with cement to create the sculptures for property decorations.
He also creates other structures, including pots for plants, benches and tables, and playground equipment, such as tunnels and rock-climbing mountains.
The raw materials are also used to create building blocks, which he hopes will be used in the construction of houses. Samples of the blocks have been submitted to the Bureau of Standards Jamaica for testing, he noted.
Cole said that he wants to use the building blocks to create affordable housing for residents living in low-income communities across the island.
"If we can help these areas to develop economically and reduce poverty, then we will have more productive communities and citizens," he said.
Cole, who plans to employ at least 100 more inner-city residents as the business grows, said he is now focused on establishing public and private partnerships to help with the mechanisation of some processes. He said that the main one is to process the raw materials into finished products much faster, in order to meet the high demand.
TALKS UNDER WAY
Discussions have begun with manufacturing company Wisynco, Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, supermarkets and hardware stores.
Meanwhile, Ian McKay, who is employed in sales by Cole, said since he met him at St Mary's College more than two years ago, he has enjoyed working with him in the recycling and manufacturing business.
He said that the business has great potential for further growth, and he expects Cole to provide the leadership that is required.
Data recorded in the United States show that the recycling industry continues to be an enormous economic driver. It is reported that in 2014, the recycling industry employed 1.1 million people and generated more than US$236 billion in gross annual revenue.
In other parts of the world, entrepreneurs are utilising recycled material to generate income. In Kenya, Africa, one entrepreneur uses plastic waste collected from dump sites to manufacture fence posts.