In the process of belt manufacturing there is the unfortunate reality of raw materials waste. This may be in the form of rejects (products that have incurred a malfunction during the  manufacturing process), excess buckles or small material off-cuts which we do not have use for. 

 

We of course want to minimise the amount of raw material waste that ends up in landfills. We are doing this firstly by working with suppliers to reduce the amount of waste from higher up in the supply chain. When we still do have ‘waste’ products in the end, if someone may find a use for this material it can be a win-win for all involved. 

 

What if one business’s “trash” could be another’s treasure? 

 

Enter Lungani Manqele, in charge of Waste Management and Sales. Part of what Lungani does on a daily basis is sort through rejects, materials off-cuts and raw materials waste products from the factory with the aim to sell and donate these products to small businesses and informal traders.

 

“I see a lot of value in this process,” says Lungani. “We not only have less waste but we are also able to supply many people with useful materials, which makes them very happy.” Lungani explains how these off-cuts are then used to create new products such as bags, wallets, shoes and belts which are sold by these small companies or in the streets. 

 

The arrival of Covid-19 has also called for Lungani to innovate the way in which he manages these processes. “We used to allow people to come at any time and select the offcuts and materials that they needed. But this sometimes caused conflict and confusion and made it less accessible to more people. Now with Covid, we have implemented an appointment system. I find out what people need and then set it aside and make a specific time to hand the materials over outside of the building. It is more structured and accommodates more people. We will definitely continue doing it this way, even after Covid-19.” 

 

We wish to thank you, Lungani, for your continued dedication to Equator the Belt Factory™’s sustainability journey.