Youths survive on green economy
By Patricia Mashiri
No one has ever dreamt that waste management and recycling would be someones’s passion. Tinashe Manyonga a 29 year-old social entrepreneur started his green economy journey few years back.
He studied for a degree in Crop science at the University of Zimbabwe before he turned to waste management and recycling.
Manyonga who is the Chief Innovator at Unique Innovations (Private) Limited and founder of TEMP-BAG was born in Harare on 01 January 1988 and did his ordinary level at Biriiri Secondary School from 2001 to 2004. He did his Advanced level at Visitation-Makumbi.
Manyonga said he was inspired by his aunt who took a course of Hot Box concept, and waste management and recycling as a great opportunity of making money. Initially, he had no educational background on waste management.
“I helped my aunt when she applied for a Hot Box concept. After the course, I helped her in making some of the products. That’s when I developed interest in waste management. I started a company called Unique Innovations with about eight workers. The company designs and manufactures non-electric thermal bags made from household waste,”Manyonga said.
The temperature bag (TEMP-BAG) is an initiative which started in 2013 and was registered and taken to Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) for product verification.
Manyonga’s empire is growing since his company is now able to recycle six types of waste which include plastics, card boxes, extruded polystyrene, polystyrene, tool pet bottles and 2-litre pet bottles.
The entrepreneur’s dream is to see a dirty-free environment and wishes everyone to earn a living from waste management and recycling like what he is doing.
“My plan is to work with the community in teaching them how waste products can earn them a living .We also wish to give discount on products to those who helped us in waste collection, thus encouraging everyone to engage in the green economy. We are also planning on rewarding waste collectors as each each waste material has a value prize attached to it.
“Our products have been accepted well in the market and we are currently distributing through direct sales, retail outlets like OK Mart, Fiesta Montague, Braeside Spar and Zuva Presto shops,” Manyonga said
Manyonga won two awards namely the Global Entrepreneurship week for the best creative category in 2013 and Green Innovation Hub at Smart Energy Innovations in 2016. That boosted his confidence in what he is doing and is now focused on upscaling his business.
Munyonga at times does community work by involving schools in waste collection and in return giving them school-teams cooler bags and some sports kits.
“Climate change mitigation is everyone’s responsibility. Therefore, everyone should make it an obligation to act responsibly by going green through initiatives like buying eco-friendly products, diverting recyclable waste from the dumpsites and reducing amounts of waste generated and promoting energy conservation at household and industrial level. As TEMP-BAG we have defined our position in this regard by bringing to you homemade solutions to a global challenge,” Manyonga said.