Waste separation within an organization…providing stable employment and income in the community
Waste is not without value when separated properly. Apart from adding value to waste, separation is also one of the simple yet sustainable ways to show our love and care for the planet. Realizing the benefits of waste separation, SCG Chemicals has adopted a “Do it clean” concept in its organization to encourage the staff to separate waste effectively in all SCG Chemicals factories. The aim is to create stable jobs and income for people in the community, alleviate the burden of the municipality in waste collection, reduce the amount of waste in the factory and raise awareness in caring for the environment. Map Chalood ChakKlang Community Waste Community Enterprise—a community enterprise that has been in the recyclable waste purchasing business since 2011—is supported by SCG Chemicals as the company sees its potential and wishes to support the neighboring community to provide a better quality of life.
Waste collected under SCG Chemicals’ Do it clean waste-separation project are divided into 2 categories: office waste such as glass bottles, plastics, aluminum cans, paper; and factory waste such as wood and steel. Currently, this community enterprise purchases waste from 5 of SCG Chemicals’ factories and in the future it is expected to be able to purchase from more sources. Waste separation at the source has yielded direct benefits to the community enterprise as explained by George—Jamnong Joythongmoon, Chairman of Map Chalood ChakKlang Community Waste Community Enterprise:
“That SCG Chemicals has already separated their waste makes it a lot easier for us to work with, and we can bypass many steps. For instance, if we get a full truckload of separated waste from a trip to the factory, we can sell it straight away without having to take it back for separation. This saves fuel, labor cost, transport cost and time. Separating waste at the source really yields a lot of benefits.”
Creating jobs and encouraging sustainable self-reliance in the community
Apart from selling/buying recyclable waste, SCG Chemicals also gives consultation and support in matters that the group needs assistance with such as facilitating the application for Factory 105 (รง105)–a legal permit that allows for the purchase of recycling waste from factories, providing basic accounting training, and inviting provincial industries to give training to develop a company’s business, etc. This year, it has a plan to expand and improve the warehouse for waste storage and separation to systemize the waste management and also cater to an increasing volume of waste in the future. Moreover, there is a plan to organize a site visit to study the strategies successfully employed in the buying waste for recycling, adding value to waste, bringing in new waste purchasers as well as learning about better ways to transport more waste per trip.
“Ultimately, the objective of this project is to help waste recyclers to become more self-reliant. We would like to take them on a site visit so they can see for themselves the best practices adopted by those in the business who have found success. At the same time, they can also see how to add value to some of the waste. Actually, some in the group have already done some of those things. For example, wood pallets are used to build made-to-order gazebos, and we have helped them find some clients. In the future it may be possible to add value to other recycled waste such as tins and paper. Hopefully there will be housewife groups or similar groups joining the enterprise. Most of all, SCG Chemicals puts emphasis on people, and in doing any CSR project, the first thing we do is to find the right people. What I mean is the people who are eager to do it and not those who have to be coaxed into it. The people here are very enthusiastic and committed to the cause.”, added Gob—Noppadol Chunruang, CSR Manager of SCG Chemicals.
Value-added waste is not
The group has used its existing expertise and knowledge to add value to recycling waste. George—Jumnong talks about how the group adds value to waste:
“Every time we collect waste, we will look and see what we can do with it. Tables and chairs or electrical appliances, for example, will be repaired and sold if possible. We will get good prices for them. Some types of wastes need to be disassembled or cut into smaller sizes and we get paid extra for separating and cutting them. But what we are proud of is turning the wood we get into furniture and gazebos. Two years ago I submitted the gazebo project idea to compete with other ideas that added value to factory waste, and I was chosen as representative from the Map Ta Phut estate. The contest received entries from industrial estates nationwide, and a committee judged them based on the benefits they provided for their communities. Our project donated part of the earnings to set up annual scholarships for children and the handicapped, and we were a runner-up in the competition. That gave me the opportunity to go on a site visit to Japan where I saw how used items were recycled and value was added to them. The trip gave me lots of ideas and I am determined that from now on I will work on creating small objects from reclaimed wood or leftover wood pieces from furniture or gazebo making. When I see new furniture I take photos and share them among our group. We want to keep thinking and developing, not just stop at being a seller/buyer of recycling materials.”
The forward-thinking ideas and vision of this chairman of the community enterprise and the fact that he and the other group members share the idea of sustainable self-reliance with SCG Chemicals allows SCG Chemicals to play a role in pushing for the growth and success of this community enterprise.
Support prototype…coexistence between the community and factory
Nowadays the income of this community enterprise has increased to the point where higher dividends can be paid to members, and scholarships are given to children and the handicapped every year. Members who take part in the enterprise also get paid on top of the dividend. In the future, it is likely that there will be bonuses to motivate more members to join the enterprise. It is impressive that a humble beginning like separating waste in the workplace can become something big that creates jobs and stable income for the community. It also serves as a concrete example that shows that the industry and community can coexist as good neighbors if the two parties are open to each other’s opinions and ideas, which ultimately leads to projects that create future sustainability.
“Today the community and factory are one and the same, and we stick together through thick and thin. With this recycling waste buying project, SCG Chemicals assisted us with things we did not know. We started from having no idea about the process and no experience. SCG Chemicals worked with us during the buying and selling and also gave advice and whatever else we needed. In my opinion I wish to make this a prototype of how a community and factory can live together and help each other. It is doable—but it is up to you whether you want to do it. Does the community want to do it? Will the factory help and support us? In order for a project to be sustainable, it is not enough for a factory to give the people some money. Once the money has run out, that’s it—the people haven’t learned anything. On the other hand, it jobs are created, the project becomes sustainable and the people get to learn to do things and rely on themselves which makes their lives and community better. They should rely on themselves first and foremost, and only ask for what they really need from the factory. The private sector do their part, but we have to do ours well too.”, concluded George—Jumnong eloquently.