Ten Questions with Rotondwa Musitha

Good health is the greatest wealth, so take care of your body and environment because it is the only place you have to live.

Rotondwa Musitha is the MD of Trash Converters in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo and recently won a PETCO Award in the category of Waste Reduction Youth Warrior. She was inspired by the social responsibility and environmental management module of her post-graduate degree in business administration, which sparked a passion for recycling.

1. Where do you go for inspiration?

I usually just reflect back on the challenges I have overcome and usually find that the challenges I am currently facing are far smaller in comparison to the lemons I have managed to turn into lemonade.

2. What do you think is the most urgent global environmental challenge facing us?

Pollution, which encompasses air, water and soil. Which has a repeat effect on our health as consumers. Individuals and industries contribute to this environmental challenge on a daily basis.

3. What is the most useful tool that helps you every day?

My laptop and phone. These are both essential for day to day communication and assist me with planning my day better and with recycling pick-ups.

4. What do you feel is the biggest issue in the waste/recycling industry that we have to overcome?

Awareness, I believe that as much as there is information being relayed on waste/recycling not enough of it is reaching the “everyday person”. Therefore we may need to change our communication strategy and look at an all-encompassing strategy in order to rope in everyone and have a population that is well informed on the waste/recycling industry, its benefits as well as the risks involved.

5. When was the last time you were scared? What is it that scares you?

The last time I was scared was when I was sick. I contracted an air-borne bacterial disease called Tuberculosis (TB) which later on became Multi-drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) meaning that I was resistant to two of the strongest anti-TB drugs. This was in 2015 but I managed to complete the dreadful regime and moved back to good health. What scares me to this day is people who just openly cough without covering their mouth.

Apart from health issues, being stagnant scares me. Not growing scares me and being alive and not living scares me. In my past life I would have mentioned failure but through experience, failing has pruned me and moved me out of comfortable spaces which had limited my growth.

6. What are you reading or listening to? Or what book/online resource has most impacted the way you live and work?

I am listening to a lot of feel good music, listening to a lot of inspirational videos compiled by Matt Morris.

7. What achievement are you most proud of?

Winning the fight against MDR-TB and helping others achieve theirs and breaking the stigma surrounding the illness with each passing day.

8. What is the best part of your work day?

I get to be involved in the day to day running of the business and see it grow, most importantly I get to see us physically diverting waste from the landfill and continuously get to see my family, friends and community members jumping on this recycling train and assisting us with sourcing more material.

9. What is a message you would like to shout from the rooftops/put on a billboard? Something you wish everyone could know and take to heart.

Firstly: In everything you do, put your best foot forward and remain true to yourself.

Secondly: Good health is the greatest wealth, so take care of your body and environment because it is the only place you have to live.

10. What is a nifty, ‘sustainability hack’ that you use in your daily life to live more environmentally friendly?

I am doing my best to go paperless so I try to use as little paper as possible. I choose recyclable items over non-recyclables and I barely use plastic shopping bags.

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Thanks to the South African PET Recycling Company (PETCO) for the images.

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