TEDDY MUNGAI is a filmmaker and college graduate who has found solace in recycling old bottles. He chats with SILAS NYAMWEYA on how he makes good money out of this project and how he is planning to expand it.
Share with us your concept of transforming discarded bottles into beautiful decorations.
I am Teddy Mungai. I got this idea from my mentor, Madam Jane Mugo. When she discusses this initiative, it’s as if her entire intention becomes visible. I believe her goal is to positively engage young men and women through creative empowerment. Under her leadership, we also gained insights into environmental conservation while using non-degradable materials. As her mentee, I’m grateful for the essential skills she imparted to me, which I continue to use to support my livelihood to this day.
How much do you sell some of the sample products and how much do you make in a month?
Each bottle is priced at Sh700. On a successful day, we are able to sell up to 20 bottles. Approximately, this translates to earnings of up to Sh14,000 per day and over Sh100,000 per month.
Who are your clients and where do you get them?
My mentor, Madam Jane Mugo, has been our greatest pillar in marketing the final products. In her marketing efforts, she actively utilises social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, which have proven to be advantageous. Additionally, she sells the products at workshops organised by some NGOs. Our clients include friends, fans, colleagues, and referrals. Glit Homes, a property management agency, has provided significant support by purchasing these items.
Where exactly do you source the waste bottles?
Obtaining these bottles can be challenging at times. On some occasions, we collect them during designated garbage collection days, where we retrieve them from the trash. Other times, we acquire them from a dumping site near Busara Primary School in Umoja. We coordinate with the site manager to secure these bottles.
Any recognition or achievement out of this effort?
So far, we have not received any recognition for our efforts. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve waited for the world to notice our craft. Nevertheless, we have never been discouraged. Madam Jane has consistently encouraged us to maintain our passion and support each other. On the other hand, this initiative has provided life skills training to many young men and women. Participants receive tokens of appreciation, which serve as a motivating factor for us. The youth are now less idle and less inclined to engage in petty crimes.
What kind of support do you need?
Offer us a space where we can continue empowering the lives of young people and expand our reach. Similar to my experience and those who came before me, these young adults can receive training in various skills, in addition to bottle decoration, to promote self-sustainability. They will also learn how to use locally available materials to promote environmental conservation.
What is your plan for this business?
I have become a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) enthusiast. My plan is to invest in producing non-degradable DIY products.
Any final thoughts?
It is indeed true that an idle mind can be transformed into a workshop. The choice lies with people to determine the kind of workshop that operates within.