Making Money Out Of Thrash - Meet Bhutan’s Winner Of The SAARC Women Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Award

Email

Chogyal Lhamo collects waste and turn them into useful items such as bags, containers and dust-bins for sale.

(Source: Facebook/ Green Bhutan Waste Management)

 

By Dechen Dolkar Business Bhutan

Chogyal Lhamo, 42, from Nubi Gewog in Trongsa is an entrepreneur who collects waste and turn them into useful items such as bags, containers and dust-bins for sale.

 

Photo: Facebook/ Green Bhutan Waste Management

 

A mother of three who is based in Bumthang, Chogyal Lhamo is the only entrepreneur dealing with collecting waste in her district. Her firm is known as Green Bhutan Waste Management.

How Chogyal Lhamo became interested in collecting waste as a business

She started out as a scrap dealer in 2008, after resigning from corporate service in 2001. Her business grew and she formally became a waste entrepreneur from 2014.

“After my husband expired I left my job thinking that the salary will not be enough for survival. I wanted to start a business and therefore came back to my home-town,” said Chogyal Lhamo.

At the beginning she planned to start a conventional business. However, it required a huge start-up cost and involved massive risks. Therefore, in order to minimise risk, she started small, without investing any capital.

“That’s when I came up with an idea that would benefit both the society and our environment,” she said.

A typical working day for Chogyal Lhamo

Today, Chogyal Lhamo has a pick-up truck which she drives herself and she goes from door to door to collect waste at 8.30am and works till 9pm sometimes.

 

Photo: Business Bhutan

 

She usually collects trash from gewogs, chiwogs, schools, institutions, hospitals, corporations and all kinds of organisations in Bumthang.

In a typical day, she can collect an average of more than one tonne of trash. The trash normally consists of pet bottles, glass bottles, cardboards, e-waste, plastics and metal.

Wastes such as tins and metals are crushed, then supplied to a major scrap dealer in Phuentsholing.

 

Photo: Facebook/ Green Bhutan Waste Management

 

Plastics and tetra-pack waste are recycled into new products like bags, containers and dustbins which she sells. She also produces laptop bags, pen stands and handbags out of the waste.

Challenges which Chogyal Lhamo faced

Due to a lack of manpower, Chogyal Lhamo said that currently her business is not operating at its fullest potential. Other obstacles include: inadequate required machines, lack of professional advocacy and limited financial support.

“My business doesn’t enjoy a massive cash flow but it does operate sustainably after all expenses incurred.”

Currently, she has three employees, down from 15 employees which she hired at the beginning. Some of her staff resigned because of the social stigma attached to waste collectors.

 

Photo: Facebook/ Green Bhutan Waste Management

 

Undaunted by the difficulties faced, Chogyal Lhamo persisted. Her determination and hard work paid off handsomely. She won the SAARC women entrepreneur of the year 2018 award, held at Colombo in Sri Lanka on March 2 this year, alongside seven other women entrepreneurs.

“I believe that women are as capable as men. I always have an urge to walk shoulder to shoulder with men in our society,” she said.

Chogyal Lhamo added that despite being looked down upon in society for being a woman and being made fun of for doing such a ‘messy’ job, she is happy.

“I wake up confidently and work hard with determination every single day to get the job done. I think my will-power and actions are finally paying off,” she said.

 

This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Green Road Project - An Innovative Way To Pave Roads Using...

Bhutan aims to cut the amount of plastic waste going to landfills by 30 to 40%.

Feb 06, 2019 17:54

Need For More Women Entrepreneurs To Partake In Bhutan’s Economic...

The 2018 Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Bhutan 122nd out of 149 countries on a global index.

Mar 14, 2019 20:54

Say ‘NO’ To Plastic - Bhutan Takes Concrete Action To Wean...

Earnest effort and concrete action must be enforced to wean ourselves off our reliance on plastic bags.

Feb 02, 2019 14:12

Waste Paper Recycling Unit In Bhutan Employs Ex-Drug And Alcohol...

The waste paper recycling unit also manages waste, helps to keep the environment clean and reduces the import of egg...

Nov 17, 2018 14:34

JAAB Helps Women Upcycle Waste

She said that utilities used in the bedroom, kitchen and toilet such as soap case, toothbrush holder, mobile hanger,...

Feb 03, 2018 06:34

Evergreen Bhutan's Waste Management Project In Trashiyangtse

For the past three months, young entrepreneur and the founder of Evergreen Bhutan Tshering Dorji, together with social...

Feb 07, 2018 07:20

Latest

News

Conference On Biodemocracy - Balancing Political And Ecological Democracy Held In Bhutan

The conference helped to deepen democracy through discussions on harmonious coexistence.

Jul 20, 2019 19:38

Government Of Bhutan Injects Nu 1 Billion To Kick-start Organic Flagship Programme

To export a product as an organic, it will be certified only after proper laboratory tests have been conducted.

Jul 12, 2019 21:48

Features

Suhas Gopinath - World’s Youngest CEO Gave An Inspiring Talk On Innovation & Technology In Bhutan

“Technology is a means of survival in the competitive modern world with modern problems,” said Suhas Gopinath.

Jul 22, 2019 23:58

Inspired By His Majesty The King, The Reading Retreat Aims To Inculcate Reading Habits Among Bhutan’s Youth

The upcoming reading retreat, which is scheduled from July 21 – 27, is expected to attract 268 students from schools across Bhutan.

Jul 16, 2019 23:58

Sports

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 08, 2019 22:18

Meet Choki Om – First Woman From Bhutan To Become A FIFA Referee

Originally from the district of Wangdue, Choki has already been a referee for over a decade.

May 16, 2019 20:58

Business

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kuenga Dendup & Pema C. Gyaltshen Of Kingdom Essenses

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Jul 21, 2019 20:48

Bhutan Economic Forum for Innovative Transformation Conference Held To Boost Cottage & Small Industries

The Bhutan Economic Forum for Innovative Transformation Conference was held from 16-18 July in Thimphu.

Jul 18, 2019 22:32

Travel

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert Teo

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58

Ride Up Bhutan’s Legendary Tiger’s Nest Monastery And Enjoy The Scenic Trail On Horseback

Pony services to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is expected to be more organised come next month.

Jul 17, 2019 21:28

Lifestyle

French Designer Christian Louboutin Releases Bhutan-inspired Shoe Collection

Bhutan’s rich craftsmanship inspired the designer’s latest collection.

Jul 06, 2019 08:53

An Exciting Line-Up Of Speakers To Be Featured In Bhutan’s Mountain Echoes Festival 2019

Themed ‘Many Lives, Many Stories’ - the festival, according to the press release, will mark its 10th anniversary with modern Bhutanese...

Jun 25, 2019 21:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!