Local creates a new business and income from unwanted goods
Cape Town - It’s not easy to reimagine your trash as treasure, but Yoosuf Carr has made a business out of doing just that while empowering his community.
Carr is an entrepreneur, and through his business Buraaq Logistics, he has been able to supply building materials for residential and commercial projects for the past two years.
The Athlone resident has been disabled since birth, and has a speech impediment, a lifelong heart condition and suffers from sporadic body shakes. In spite of business successes, he needed to rethink his business and its future when lockdown began.
He said: “I created two divisions in the business, the building materials side and a recycling division.”
With 25 staff dependent on him and needing to work, Carr decided to start the recycling division in part because he believes that everyone has something to throw away and there’s always someone out there willing to buy it or repurpose it.
Carr said: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so what I do is I come to you when you phone me and book me, and whatever you have that is useless to you I pick it up. I then look at the best way possible to utilise the items.”
He doesn’t believe in taking anything to the scrapyard, but he has a network of people who are always looking for recycling and items that can be repurposed, fixed or given a new lease on life.
“I don’t take it to the scrap yards, I rather use the things I collect to change people’s lives by providing them with the item so that they can do something with it and make some money,” said Carr.
He has dual aims: to create a profit not only for himself, but for those who need the items but have no means of getting hold of it.
Carr said: “I create a salary and lifeline from that recycling. I have numerous people across the city and I look at what I have and decide who is the best person to take it to. They sell it, or they repurpose it and even resell it.
“What I do is collect the normal recycling items like newspapers, bottles and plastic but I also take the things that are useless to you, it can be a door, a window, an old iron or a toilet and I take it and try to give it to the best person possible.”
Working from a shared space in Philippi, Carr also has numerous storage sites across the city from which he can distribute items. “I take everything, from a plastic bottle, to metal safes and broken tyres. I don’t ask people what they have.”
His primary school years were spent at a special needs school, but recalled that his father insisted he go to a public school so that he can better face the challenges of life when he is older.
This is just one of the reasons Carr’s approach to life is different to others, he doesn’t see his disabilities as an obstacle in the business world.
He said: “I have 25 staff that work for me, they deliver my building material and I sell to one of the leaders in construction who gave me a chance as a supplier for them more than a year ago.
“There was no work during the lockdown and my wife also lost her job and we had a child on the way, so I had to make a plan.”
He admitted that part of his plans is to directly empower other disabled people, as currently he has no disabled people working for his team.
Carr also wants to grow this part of his business as he now firmly believes that there is trash in all Cape Town homes that, not far off, there is someone who can repurpose it.
He said: “Everyone needs to eat, everyone needs to go to the supermarket and sooner or later you need to get rid of the packages, the boxes and plastics. Those who are informed, they know how valuable this recycling is.”