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Bhutan’s ‘trash guy’

Karma Yonten calls himself a “trash guy,” and one thing is certain: He is enthusiastic about waste. Growing up in Bhutan, a small, not very densely populated Himalayan kingdom, 29-year-old Karma never imagined himself working with garbage. There simply wasn’t any when he was young. But the country is developing fast, which opened up Karma to the idea of starting Bhutan’s first private waste management firm in 2010.
Now he teaches other people in his country all about recycling by offering them money in return for segregated waste and by teaching children about the value of it. He even owns a shirt made out of plastic bottles, especially imported from Japan, to show the extent of what is possible. “It makes them excited about waste,” Karma explains with a smile.
This report was supported in part by the Postcode Loterij Fonds for journalists by Free Press Unlimited.
Listen to the report by Aletta André in Timphu, Bhutan:
Bhutans trash guy
Karma Yonten

Every little bit counts (Photos: Aletta André)

Karma Yonten

Karma is proud of being known as the trash guy (Photo: Aletta André)

Karma Yonten

Karma has received numerous awards for his entrepreneurship and activism (Photo: Aletta André)

Date

Tuesday 17.09.2013 | 12:26

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Liberia’s first recycling center

James’ biggest hope is to empower the people in his community. One way he is doing that is by running a recycling an compost center in Monrovia, Liberia. He provides jobs with a purpose – and helps keep the city cleaner.

Listen to the report by Tamasin Ford:

Liberia recycling

James Mulbah Green Center

Liberia's first waste segregation and recycling center

James Mulbah recycling

James in the warehouse of the Green Center with sacks of plastic, cans and scrap metal ready for recycling

James Mulbah compost

James and his workers make compost out of the leftover food from the market women

James Mulbah scales

James weighs a bag of scrap metal to determine how much to pay the customer

Date

Tuesday 13.03.2012 | 13:28

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India’s ‘Paperman’ recycles waste to fund education for girls

A year ago, 23-year-old Mathew Jose found out that only 20 percent of the waste generated in India is recycled. This was despite the unique system of door-to-door rag-pickers in India who buy waste from households and sell it to recyclers at a higher price. This inspired Mathew to start a recycling revolution by reviving the unorganized sector of rag-pickers – and raise funds through recycling, too.

Mathew’s passion and faith in his cause is contagious, and that’s plain to see at all his campaigns. But Mathew is quick to insist that the real hero is the movement itself, and the ones who make it all possible – the rag-pickers.

Listen to Pia Chandavarkar’s report:

India’s Paperman recycles waste to fund education for girls

Mathew Jose, right, was inspired by the scrap dealers and rag-pickers in India, who, according to him, are the ones who make recycling happen in India.

Mathew Jose, right was inspired by the scrap dealers and rag-pickers in India, who, according to him, are the ones who make recycling happen in India.

Mathew believes that waste has life, and waste can change lives. That is why he founded the organisation Paperman in July 2010.

Mathew believes that waste has life, and waste can change lives. That is why he founded the organisation Paperman in July 2010.

Scrap dealer Kishan Murthy with his little daughter at his shop

Scrap dealer Kishan Murthy with his little daughter at his shop

Mathew conducts awareness campaigns in schools and residential areas in Chennai. Here, he talks to some students and teachers at a school.

Mathew conducts awareness campaigns in schools and residential areas in Chennai. Here, he talks to some students and teachers at a school.

Date

Tuesday 24.01.2012 | 13:03

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Turning trash into treasure

It’s a dirty but lucrative business. Solomon Tetteh works in the waste processing sector in Accra. He holds a university degree, but Solomon was not able to find a job. At first, his friends were not really supportive when he dreamed about building up his own business. Now, a year later, he is not only self-employed, he has also managed to create jobs for several garbage men, giving them the opportunity to support their families. Solomon also promotes environmental awareness in Ghana by distributing free garbage cans in schools. He wants young people to learn early how to separate garbage and leave the land clean.

Turning trash into treasure with a new business initiative

Solomen Tetteh has a knack of turning trash into treasure

Vist onmedia.dw-akademie.com/english to see Richard Ocloo, Janehin Stephen and Bazuaye Darryl’s video report about Solomon.

Date

Tuesday 15.11.2011 | 19:57

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Berlin ‘upcycler’ turns trash into treasures

Used teabags become necklaces and empty tetra paks turn into shower curtains. Julia Vernersson encourages others to think differently about waste by making useful – and beautiful – everyday objects out of it.

Listen to the report

See some of Julia’s work here.

Date

Wednesday 10.08.2011 | 15:04

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