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Eco-friendly Business Opportunities for Zambia

Zambia holds vast potential for industries centered on sustainability, offering promising avenues worth exploring. While initial setup costs may be substantial, the potential rewards, including job creation and positive environmental impact, are significant. Here are three industries which we feel could benefit from more industry players.

Collection and processing of garden waste for making compost & potting soil

In Lusaka, the disposal of garden waste often involves its inclusion in general landfill waste, a practice with significant environmental implications. This waste, comprising grass clippings, leaves, branches, and other organic matter, contributes to the generation of methane, a flammable greenhouse gas.

Additionally, it represents a missed opportunity for resource recovery and sustainable waste management. Internationally, various countries have implemented successful initiatives to manage garden waste more sustainably. For instance, curbside composting programs and community collection schemes have been instrumental in diverting organic waste from landfills and utilizing it for composting, mulching, and bioenergy generation.

Zamkanda, a local organization committed to environmental sustainability, has initiated a notable project in collaboration with Evelyn Hone College. This project involves the collection and composting of garden waste from the college premises, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of circular waste management practices. According to Zamkanda, it is estimated that 1.2 million kgs of unsorted waste is dumped daily in the Lusaka dumpsite. By diverting organic waste from landfills and producing nutrient-rich compost, Zamkanda contributes to soil enrichment and agricultural productivity while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship among students and communities. Zamkanda can only do so much, and we need more people active in this thriving industry.

Moving forward, embracing sustainable waste management practices for garden waste presents an opportunity to mitigate environmental impact, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote resource efficiency in Lusaka. Through innovative solutions and community engagement, the city can transition towards a greener future, where garden waste is viewed not as a burden, but as a valuable resource for sustainability and resilience.

Recycling Opportunities in Zambia

In Lusaka, the recycling industry holds immense promise, offering a pathway to sustainability, resource conservation, and economic growth. One glimpse into this potential can be found by joining the Facebook group Recycle Lusaka, where the abundance of raw materials going to waste serves as a call to action. They have put together a List of Recyclers in Lusaka, organisations who do reuse materials so they do not go to landfill.

From plastic bottles to cardboard and engine oil, the recycling of these materials presents diverse opportunities for utilisation across various industries. There are several companies who offer large scale-recyling services as well as smaller businesses and NGOs. It's worth following Environment Savers of Zambia, Zukani Action Zambia, Door to Door Solid Waste.

Plastic bottles, represent a significant portion of the waste stream in Lusaka. Through recycling, plastic bottles can be transformed into a range of products, including polyester fibers for clothing, recycled PET containers for food and beverage packaging, and even construction materials such as eco-bricks. Newtech Recyling has been making garden furniture from recycled plastic.

Cardboard, another common recyclable material, holds untapped potential for reuse and repurposing. Additionally, recycling cardboard contributes to the circular economy by closing the loop on material usage and minimizing waste.

Engine oil, often overlooked in the recycling discourse, is a valuable resource that can be reprocessed and reused. Rather than discarding used engine oil, which poses environmental hazards if improperly disposed of, recycling facilities can extract contaminants and impurities, restoring the oil to a usable condition. It is often used to cure wood, to protect it from termites.

It goes without saying, the opportunities presented by the recycling industry extend beyond environmental benefits to encompass economic growth and job creation. By creating a strong recycling industry, including collection networks, sorting facilities, and processing plants, Lusaka can unlock the full potential of its recyclable materials while generating employment opportunities and stimulating local economies.

Gardening Education in Zambia

In Zambia, where vibrant gardens adorn our landscapes, there's an overlooked aspect that needs attention: gardening education. Unlike many industries with formal training programs, our gardeners often learn on the job or through word of mouth. But here's the thing—accredited training for gardeners and landscapers, along with short courses, is scarce.

Sometimes, you might stumble upon courses at places like Chifwema Nursery. And there are individuals who offer informal training within their gardening businesses. But let's face it; it's not enough.

Gardening isn't just about pretty flowers; it has a significant impact on the environment. From preserving soil health to managing water wisely and nurturing biodiversity, gardeners hold a lot of power. By teaching them how to work in harmony with nature, we can unlock a whole range of benefits for our ecosystems and communities.

Sure, places like Kasisi Agricultural College and Chengelo offer short courses in organic vegetable gardening.

When it comes to ornamental gardening—the kind that makes our gardens look like paradise—there's a gap in the market. It's ironic; we want stunning gardens, but without the right knowledge, achieving those effects is tough. And let's not forget about employers. They might not know the technicalities either, which makes it hard for them to guide their gardening staff.

With not much to do on weekends, practical gardening workshops could be a hit. Imagine getting your hands dirty while learning valuable skills. It's not just about growing flowers; it's about growing knowledge and a sense of community, around sustainability.

In a nutshell, improving gardening education isn't just about making our gardens prettier—it's about empowering our gardeners, preserving our environment, and building a brighter future for Zambia.

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