×

We've got news for you.

Register on DispatchLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Helping the city sparkle through recycling

Scott Worley and Joshua Acheampong’s Land of the Living project creates development and job opportunities for young people

NPO Land Of The Living works to uplift unemployed youth through the Unantoni Endlini Recycling Plant, from left, Scott Worley (Director), Siphokazi Mapipa (Environmental Sciences Intern), Carlos Allan (Communications), Ncebekazi Mtiwake (Senior Supervisor), Joshua Acheampong (Operations Manager), Sphokazi Jacobs (Sorter) and Kwanele Mpini (Machine Operator).
NPO Land Of The Living works to uplift unemployed youth through the Unantoni Endlini Recycling Plant, from left, Scott Worley (Director), Siphokazi Mapipa (Environmental Sciences Intern), Carlos Allan (Communications), Ncebekazi Mtiwake (Senior Supervisor), Joshua Acheampong (Operations Manager), Sphokazi Jacobs (Sorter) and Kwanele Mpini (Machine Operator).
Image: Randell Roskruge

Local Hero nominees Scott Worley and Joshua Acheampong from Land of the Living are transforming the city, one piece of trash at a time. 

“I’m just the rubbish guy!” said Acheampong. 

The NPO aims to create sustainable development and employment opportunities for young people through its training programme, HOPE network of community leaders and Unantoni Endlini Recycling plant, the main operation.  

Unantoni Endlini, “what do you have in the house” in isiXhosa, was founded in 2018 as the entrepreneurial wing to sustain operations and employ young people.

Land of the Living director Worley said: “We started collecting waste in a tiny garage in Arcadia, but were granted seed money by One Collective to buy our own baler machine.

“We sell cardboard, paper, glass and plastics. There are not a lot of places that buy recycling in East London, so we transport it out of the city.” 

The Dispatch visited the depot and saw tonnes of neatly compressed materials lining the warehouse walls in 1.5m squares.

Programme manager Acheampong said they collected more than 25 tonnes of recycling every three months from the NPO’s City Clean up initiative, or individual collectors in various communities.  

Land of the Living employs eight permanent staff members and over 50 casual workers for their city cleanup programme and recycling plant. 

Worley said: “This is a platform for environmental transformation and skills development.  Our vision is to help young people create their own businesses.” 

A once a week recycling collection service is also offered to residents. 

“We have around 300 residents who pay R120 a month for us to collect their recycling. It’s a way to make it easier for people and is a big boost for us.”

Acheampong said: “It’s challenging trying to empower people. We have to change the mindset and build them up while working on the job.

“But it’s fun! My love for young people, to build trust and give them the opportunities to learn and make mistakes. I’m a father, a big brother and a teacher.” 

Communications manager Carlos Allan said:  “It all comes down to people, to help restore dignity. We have learnt that even with very little we can create so much.

“We started cleaning the city because we were not happy with the “Slummies” status quo.”

The citywide cleanups started in 2020 and grew into several major operations.

Worley said: “We do weeding, sweep gutters, pick up litter and cut the overgrowth of areas like the Gonubie main N2 road, Beaconhurst Drive and Upper West Avenue.

“We have about 50 businesses that sponsor the project.

“Illegal dumping is a major issue. When we started in Arcadia, we spent a month cleaning up piles of rubble and trash.” 

Recycling plant supervisor Ncebakazi Mtiwake, from Gonubie, said she had been taught by Land of Living how to sort materials and was very happy to be employed. 

“I come from a camp in Gonubie,” she said.

“I was unemployed when they began teaching us.

“We started collecting glass bottles from the Gonubie township, and Josh gave us a scale and a cash box and people would drop off their recycling and we would pay them.

“Scott then showed us there are more materials than just glass.

“This job changed my life. I now have my own money for myself and my daughter.”  

DispatchLIVE


subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.