Trash becomes cash with ‘Golden Waste’ online initiative

Get rid of your garbage and make money out of it; “Al-Nefayat al-Zahabiya “(Golden Waste) is an online service that provides users with the market price for solid waste like plastic bottles, cans, milk cartons and papers, and then buys the trash from them.

“I started my project in 2002 as part of scientific research I was working on,” says Sharaf Emam Salama, the founder of the service. However, the study took a turn when Salama realized that the project could be fruitful. “Recycling waste is as profitable as drug dealing and arms trade,” says the chemist, laughing.

Recycling waste is a long process that includes transporting, sorting, processing and finally recycling garbage. The amount of garbage generated in rich and poor areas is equivalent; it is the ratio between organic and non-organic items that differs, explains the expert. A higher percentage of organic waste such as food scraps is found in less affluent neighborhoods, according to Salama.

“Separating trash and having different bins for organic and non-organic at home facilitates the recycling process,” he says. Unsorted waste increases the amount of recyclable items that are lost.

“The bad smell, rotten organic items and worms are factors that naturally discourage workers from doing a thorough job of segregating the various waste items,” says Salama.

The businessman explains that having one bin for everything will damage valuable solid wastes like papers and cartons, preventing re-use.

“I launched the Golden Waste website to spread awareness and create a tangible incentive for Egyptians to recycle their garbage,” he says.

The more the waste is processed, the higher its value. Compressed plastics, for instance, sell better and are more expensive then loose plastics.

Salama believes diminishing the amount of waste through recycling will eventually clean the environment and gradually lessen the amount of money spent on health care.

“I help people clean their houses, their neighborhoods and the environment while making an extra buck; there is nothing wrong with making an extra LE200 every month,” says Salama.

The Environment Ministry and other organizations will not solve the garbage problem since that will eventually put them out of business, the chemist says.

“The government’s dealings with foreign garbage companies like Europa 2000 is the worst thing that ever happened to our economy,” says Salama.

He claims that he met with former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to discuss his project and the latter responded that his hands were tied due to agreements with overseas garbage companies.

Al-Nefayat al-Zahabiya deals with Nestle, the Nile City Boat in Zamalek, and is currently in negotiations with the Semiramis Intercontinental, City Stars mall and Hilton.

“We currently buy plastic bottles, chairs, cans, tins, glass jars, aluminum, old books and papers,” says Salama.

Organic waste can be used as manure and animal feed.

“Four tons of garbage equals one ton of diesel,” he says. Used cooking oil can be transformed into bio-diesel fuel for cars.

“I hope that soon, there will banks in each neighborhood to collect the garbage from the residents."

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