Don’t trash your talents. This is how you can turn waste into wonder

Don’t trash your talents. This is how you can turn waste into wonder

Three lives connected by their innovative solutions to waste

beautiful news
Beautiful News

If you had everything you needed at your disposal, would you just throw it away? We often rid ourselves of what we think is trash. Yet Dave De Witt, Orefile Malebo, and Robert Richards are uncovering the true worth of our waste. They’ve all come up with unexpected answers to problems using seemingly useless things.

Dave De Witt had been unwittingly creating debris for decades. As a skateboarder, his hobby was contributing to the issue of excess refuse. Because of the pressure placed on skateboards, they eventually deteriorate and end up broken beyond use, destined to take up space in a landfill. But De Witt realised they still had life, and began crafting the wooden components of old boards into stylish sunglasses frames. “I like the fact that I don’t need to cut down trees,” he says. Instead, his materials come wheeling in.

Transforming what you have can be a matter of necessity. When Orefile Malebo saw how many people couldn’t afford essential sanitary pads, she devised a method to make reusable ones from basic household items. Her DIY costs next to nothing compared to traditional menstrual hygiene products. “These can be beneficial to all communities because they are safe, accessible, and easy to make,” Malebo says. What’s more, she’s not just addressing a vital need, but reducing the reliance on single-use pads that take hundreds of years to decompose.

Creative approaches arise when we look at things in a new light. Robert Richards lives in Namaqualand, a desert region in South Africa where kraalbos grows freely. The invasive plant is toxic if eaten, and was poisoning animals in the community. At first, the only option farmers seemed to have was to clear the vegetation, leaving the soil exposed to erosion. But Richards made a crucial finding. “I discovered that this shrub actually contains anti-fungal properties,” he explains. Rather than completely remove the plant, he’s taught locals to harvest it. With the kraalbos, they now make a soap that can help heal skin ailments. 

People like De Witt, Malebo and Richards are innovating to reduce their impact on the environment. “You can actually make stuff out of what people think is trash,” De Witt advises. Don’t let your talents, resources, or ingenuity go to waste. We’re all capable of creating solutions.

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, you can help us spread information and hope. Share your positive stories by clicking here and we’ll be in contact.

It’s time to rethink what you throw away.

Posted by Beautiful News on Sunday, June 7, 2020

Show's Stories