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‘What is the destination of my waste?’

BY: Thoboloko Nts’onyane

MASERU – The three R’s namely Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, have become buzz words for encouraging environmentally healthy and sustainable human practices.

The Morija based recycler, Limpho Thoahlane, realizes profits in solid waste by recycling and repurposing it by making various optional accessories and paraphernalia.

This photographer and marketer, ventured into waste management in 2019 after attending the workshops at The Hub Morija that dealt with Climate Change, which resulted in the animations on climate change awareness and a photo Exhibition that showcased the impacts of climate change in Morija at that time.

The Founder and Managing Director of Pheha Plastics further said it was at that time that she learnt that Lesotho has a huge littering problem and was perturbed by lack of initiatives to address this problem.

“I though to start a ‘recycling centre’ at this point. I did not know anything really about recycling but I did a lot of googling and [watched] YouTube. I had also made a decision that I would actively try to engage on my Twitter about climate change but there was never any [reaction] until I got a message from a Belgian company marvelling at the work that I was sharing and wanted to know more. Many conversations later, they said they had found machinery for recycling and [if] I was still interested in recycling then we would partner. And that is how Pheha Plastic came about. A need for change and a passion for a better Lesotho,” Thoahlane explained.

The 28 years old believes that: “The waste management problem, the climate crisis cannot be solved by one person or one government but as a collective or unity. Kopano ke matla [unity is strength].”

She said they received a positive response of their products and the first year for us have an opportunity, the market exists we just need to work harder to get to it.  The immediate response and bulk buying have however come from outside Lesotho, adding that they are looking forward to exporting at a large scale whilst also investing in a local market.

“The saddest thing we experienced is losing our most staff and volunteers due to lack enough finances, there are many young eager to learn and work towards a better Lesotho but with limited resources and conducive environments.  The very fact that we got so many interns in our first year meant that we are headed in the right direction, and we can say interns are a very important part of the growth of any business and companies should invest more, not just exposure or experience but cater financially.”

Taking stock of resilience within the business environment, Thoahlane remarked that: “I think it can be achieved by engaging with your team, the past year has taught me that to be leader is not that you must carry all the burdens by yourself but to be part of a team that fights together, and I think for me that resilience and it is very important to establishing what your weaknesses are and how to improve on them”.

Some of their highlights she said shortly before Christmas I had the opportunity of meeting with the Prime Minister, a move she praised saying “I was every encouraged that the new administration is thinking about the waste management in Lesotho but are also open to hearing solutions from young people”.

She continued: “It was a big moment for me as it meant that I could be able to have a seat that that speak about something I am passionate about but also be listened. Lastly would be travelling and seeing how other countries are tackling and diving into Circular Economy.”

Pheha Plastics, she said are to grow bigger and better, we aim to have recycling centres in every corner of Lesotho and most importantly we want to be able to answer this “What is the destination of my waste”

She said if the government wants thriving entrepreneurship it should invest in young people and systems to enable an entrepreneurial ecosystem that cannot just thrive here but globally.

Thoahlane said they received a positive response to their products and the first year for them exposed them to opportunities adding that there is market out there, “We just need to work harder to get to it”. 

Pheha Plastics founder said immediate response and bulk buying have however come from outside Lesotho, and we are looking forward to exporting at a large scale whilst also investing in a local market.

They have also had their fair share of low moments, and she said the downside was when they lost most staff and volunteers owing to lack enough finances. She noted that there are many young eager to learn and work towards a better Lesotho but with limited resources and lack conducive environments could become deterrents. 

“The very fact that we got so many interns in our first year meant that we are headed in the right direction, and we can say interns are a very important part of the growth of any business and companies should invest more, not just exposure or experience but cater financially.”

Taking stock of resilience within the business environment, Thoahlane remarked that: “I think it can be achieved by engaging with your team, the past year has taught me that to be leader is not that you must carry all the burdens by yourself but to be part of a team that fights together, and I think for me that resilience and it is very important to establishing what your weaknesses are and how to improve on them”.

She said shortly before Christmas holidays they had an audience with the Prime Minister, a move she praised saying “I was every encouraged that the new administration is thinking about the waste management in Lesotho but are also open to hearing solutions from young people. It was a big moment for me as it meant that I could be able to have a seat that that speak about something I am passionate about but also be listened”.

Thoahlane said she would be travelling and seeing how other countries are tackling the waste management and diving into Circular Economy.

“Our plans are to grow bigger and better. We aim to have recycling centres in every corner of Lesotho and most importantly we want to be able to answer this ‘What is the destination of my waste?’”, she revealed.

Pheha Plastic offers the services ranging from events clean-up, waste management consultations, school tours, and workshops.

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