Feature: Young Egyptians turn waste recycling hobby into stable source of income

CAIRO, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Two Egyptian young men have managed to turn their hobby of recycling old materials such as scrap metal and using them to make home decorations and furniture into a stable source of income.

It was initially the pressure of the lack of jobs and low salaries that prompted Ibrahim Salah and Ahmed Hussein, two friends from Giza Province near the capital Cairo, to put this recycling idea into practice.

"I was originally a carver and specialized in murals. I have learned much about the art of carving, including the use of modern technology in carving," Salah told Xinhua as he made a statuette of a pharaoh out of small metal pieces.

As for Hussein, he found himself gravitating to the art of recycling scrap into furniture, decorations and statues several years ago, and started to follow the pioneers of this art worldwide through social media.

"My friend Hussein also has a passion for this art, so we decided to search for a place where we can start making our own works," the 29-year-old man said.

A few months ago, the Ministry of Local Development granted a property with an affordable monthly rent to the two young men, who then spent several weeks in converting it into a manufacturing-cum-display workshop.

"We now participate in many exhibitions where we display our products for sale. In the near future, we will focus on organizing seminars for young people and children to teach them the art of recycling as well as raising their awareness of the value of recycling," Salah said.

On Aug. 24, the Egyptian parliament approved a bill on waste management prepared by the Ministry of Environment and other authorities. The new law concerns finding solutions for waste-disposal problems as well as future challenges.

According to the law, waste will be recycled instead of being burned, while industrial zones will be assigned to recycle different kinds of waste.

In July 2019, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt produces 26 million tons of rubbish annually, noting disposing of such big amounts of waste costs 10 billion Egyptian pounds (640 million U.S. dollars.)

"Old items often go to the landfill, but we can make good use of such materials by recycling them into art," Hussein told Xinhua, referring to scrap metal, machinery spare parts, spare car parts, old tires, pieces of wood and others.

"This culture of recycling has existed for decades in other countries, and our role is to spread this culture in the Egyptian society," he noted.

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