The Waste Warrior

April 16th, 2024    |   Related To: Siel Environmental Services

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Sian Cuffy-Young – CEO/Founder, Siel Environmental Services Limited
Sian Cuffy-Young – CEO/Founder, Siel Environmental Services Limited

Sian Cuffy-Young is a triple threat – a waste management educator, social entrepreneur, and consultant. Her road to get here has been scrappy, filled with hard-won battles against self-doubt. However, she is now on the path to disrupting how we educate on waste management across the Caribbean region.

Conservation starts at home

Cuffy-Young’s been resilient and driven through it all: “I want to see my country clean. I believe everyone has a role to play – manufacturers need to make sustainable products with a better end of life. The government needs to develop and implement suitable policies and civil society needs to become guardians of their communities.” Her environmental steadfastness started at age ten when two events changed her life forever, “I was swimming in Chaguaramas and was struck in the face with a loaded diaper. I remembered what my dad, who is a Cub Scout leader, taught me about their conservation law, ‘you always leave a place cleaner than you met it,’ and my 10-year-old brain thought, ‘maybe these people don’t know that, and I have to help them.’” She gives combined credit to her dad for moulding her love of sustainability and her mom for engendering her love of people; this is why she became a social entrepreneur.

Finding her voice

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“Coming from climbing the corporate ladder in SWMCOL (the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited) to struggling as an entrepreneur was hard. Before, I thought failure was bad, but now, I see failure as a good thing—it helps you to learn, iterate and build character.” Cuffy-Young knew that she didn’t want to conduct business “like everyone else,” she wanted to help people, but she had to figure out how to do it her way.“I learned how to stand up for myself because waste management is a very male-dominated field, how to make my team feel seen and heard, and how to use my background in physics to consider the bigger picture and formulate the details.”

Waste not, want not

As CEO and Co-Founder of Siel Environmental Services, Cuffy-Young is on a mission to “transform the way we think and act towards waste.” She does this through waste education and literacy programmes for children and youth; in 2020, she authored a children’s book, “Ky’s Magical Adventures: Where the Garbage Goes Is at the Core.” She also conducts waste management courses such as “Home Composting for Tropical Climates” and “Waste Management 101”, available respectively online at Udemy and in-person/virtually at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. Cuffy-Young also offers consultancy services in waste education and food waste management; she provides strategic guidance to small, medium, and large retailers in the food and beverage industry and conducts food waste audits to measure and monitor organisational waste.

The future and beyond

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“2023 is my year,” she says. Cuffy-Young is a Caribbean representative in two highly competitive social entrepreneur programmes: SOCAP23 Global and the Halcyon Climate Resilience in LAC Intensive Fellowship. She has big dreams for her company and her growing portfolio, “I want to travel the world, speak on big stages, and nurture my coaching spirit by helping other entrepreneurs. I often say, ‘it’s not always about doing things better, but sometimes we simply need to do better things.’” That’s why I’m launching the “Do Better Things” podcast to discuss how we can do better when it comes to waste and our lives.

By Jeanette G. Awai

Hello, and welcome to Siel Environmental Services Limited! We are a for-profit social enterprise specialising in waste education, waste management training, and waste project consultancy. Founded in 2015 by our CEO and Principal Consultant, Mrs. Sian Cuffy-Young, we are laser-focused on our goal to transform the local waste landscape by delivering effective waste education, training and tools to countless consumers and organisations across the Caribbean.

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Address: LP 58 Mc Connie Street, Dinsley, Tacarigua, Trinidad
Tel: (868) 381-9937
Email: [email protected]
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Twitter: @limitedsiel