When dirt is good

When dirt is good

NUL graduate makes furniture from waste paper…………..

MASERU – FURNITURE made from waste paper.
That is an entirely new field for Lesotho, thanks to a National University of Lesotho chemistry graduate, Setlhare Jane.
Jane has now trained 17 other young men and women to venture into this exciting yet virgin field.
He has now been hired by the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) to train youths on waste paper recycling.

Jane is producing furniture from waste paper. The furniture appears as whole entities without any joints.
He also uses waste maize stalks and rooibos tea to strengthen the furniture’s surface.
“When a carpenter goes out to buy a machine, I go out to buy a mere knife. When he goes out to buy veneer and plywood, I go out to scavenge waste cardboards and newspapers,” he says.
In the end, Jane ends up with more or less the same product, and many times better, for some applications.

This he does, not only by making the furniture out of waste cardboards and newspapers, but by doing so in his own unique way, using a unique binder and coat he developed.
Jane is now a consultant teaching youths to squeeze cash out of waste.
Last week BEDCO with the help of Jane trained 17 young men and women to make furniture with waste.

“I can only hope that they will take advantage of this innovation and better not only their lives but their communities’ lives and create their own jobs,” Jane said.
He said when he embarked on the research three years ago it was because he saw waste was in abundance and free, allowing one to cut down costs of starting a business or a project.
’Malillane Lillane, one of the trainees and a BSc student at the NUL, said she took the opportunity to learn as she realised that chances of being employed were more or less nil.
Lillane is already buying clothes from Johannesburg and selling them in town and in villages.

“I have a small business of selling clothes but there are already a lot of people doing that hence the income is not that much,” Lillane said.
“When I heard an announcement about this opportunity I applied immediately as I saw it as a platform to diversify my skills and business opportunities,” she said.
She said she was happy that she took the training opportunity as all she needed was her hands.

“The waste is usually free, all I will have to buy is the paint but if I do well the generated income will be more,” she said.
Lillane and other trainees’ eyes have now been opened to see that dirt is good. The waste which they used to think was an eyesore is now generating revenue for the family.
They say they have realised that waste can be a multi-million dollar industry. It could as well be Lesotho’s next diamonds.

According to the World Bank’s Urban Development Series Report, waste generation in sub-Saharan Africa is approximately 62 million tonnes per year.
The unwanted waste, especially boxes and papers, are being used to create beautiful furniture like TV stands, coffee tables, vases and many more.
Three years ago Jane embarked on a journey to see if something worthy could come out of unwanted waste.

For three years he experimented and tried to get the best results out of his research.
“It took a lot of trial and error to be here,” Jane said.
He said late last year he started making furniture using waste (paper and boxes) to make furniture.

“I took out most of my furniture, bed base, TV stand, base and coffee table and made new ones for myself using waste paper,” he said.
Soon those who saw the furniture started inquiring about where he purchased them and when he told them that he made them orders started piling up.
“Because of my job at the university, I am unable to focus on this work and so we decided to release it to the public to improve their lives and hopefully boost the economy,” he said.
He said the furniture is water-proof hence it is very durable.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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