‘Light bulb’ moment

2016-12-07 06:01
PHOTO:supplied At the SAB Kickstart Boost awards ceremony (from left) Maruping Phuthi (SAB corporate affairs manager), Pravashen Naidoo and Marang Setshwaelo (Dreamcatcher Multimedia), who was the master of ceremonies.

PHOTO:supplied At the SAB Kickstart Boost awards ceremony (from left) Maruping Phuthi (SAB corporate affairs manager), Pravashen Naidoo and Marang Setshwaelo (Dreamcatcher Multimedia), who was the master of ceremonies.

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PRAVASHEN Naidoo of E-Waste Africa in Pietermaritzburg has been awarded second place in the South African Breweries KickStart Boost initiative.

SAB KickStart Boost supports and grows existing youth businesses within key local industries that have the ability to create high volumes of jobs and is designed to help address the country’s need to create sustainable jobs through supporting the development of high impact young entrepreneurs.

E-Waste Africa offers several options for light bulb waste disposal; onsite storage, collection, crushing and the heart of the business, lamp, or light bulb, recycling.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever Naidoo­, a qualified electro-mechanical engineer, said that he got the idea of recycling light bulbs after a conversation with his father who asked him about recycling light fused light bulbs. It was then that the light bulb moment struck him.

“I did not think much of his statement back then, let alone think that I would end up being Africa’s first person to recycle a bulb. It literally was these words that got me to research the idea and eventually complete a feasibility study. The rest as you would say ‘has been recycled’, over a million times over the last two years,” he said.

Naidoo held down a permanent job at Unilever and enjoyed the benefits of financial security.

“I still opted to go down the road of venturing into my own business. I left knowing that opening my own business was all I’ve ever wanted to do. Although there are sacrifices you have to make daily, but I am truly doing what I want to be doing which is to literally change the world.”

He explained that, after over a year of planning, E-Waste was born, and in 2014, was awarded its licence for the recycling of hazardous waste, namely light bulbs.

“We started with one employee and today, two years later, we have operations based in KZN, Gauteng and we provide a national collection network, employing 13 permanent people. We aim to recycle over 100 million light bulbs thus saving 20 000 tons of hazardous waste from entering our landfill sites across South Africa,” said Naidoo.

He added that the funds received from SAB will be redirected to the business collection network to purchase vehicles and equipment to better improve service delivery to clients.

Lamps or light bulb, disposal is no longer permitted at any landfill site. This was noted in Section 5 (1) of the Norms and Standards for Disposal of Waste to Landfill and was implied from August 2016.

“The mercury in the bulbs are highly carcinogenic and must be handled in a safe manner, E-Waste Africa provides the solution for the safe handling and safe recycling of these products for reuse in the market,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo’s long-term plan for E-Waste Africa is to ensure that a national footprint for the company and branch in to Africa. “There are still no solutions in South Africa for numerous waste products. E-Waste Africa’s research and development team are working tirelessly to find a practical and safe methodology to be able to recycle these waste streams. I suppose I have now got the bug to being the first and want to ensure we will be doing this with numerous other waste streams, going forward,” he said.


E-Waste Africa received the Nedbank PCB, Spirit of Entrepreneurship award, R1 million interest-free loan from SAB and is short listed for the SA premier business awards

The facility in Pietermaritzburg collects light bulbs as well as other technology which will be re-routed for safe recycling from the facility. Contact the E-Waste offices for more information on 033 346 4068 or visit the offices at 102 Shortts Retreat Road


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