Mazin Al Rawahi, 26, lives by ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Wandering around empty wadis in his dust-covered Hilux, he looks for damaged tyres and lumber.
In a country where every person generates on average 1.2 kg of solid waste per day, the recycling guru has no shortage of raw material.
Alone, surrounded by nothing but sunlight, debris, and machines that gave up the ghost, Mazin forges iron and cuts wood to create funky furniture for a wide range of clients.
Every day, he collects empty oil drums, abandoned cable drums, and recyclable trash, bringing it to his well-hidden workshop in Samail, where he lives.
What started as a hobby has now turned into a money-making business for the young Omani, who has been declining job offers so he can do what he loves most.
“I feel so happy and proud when I see my work displayed and used in restaurants and public parks across Oman,” he told Y Magazine.
Mazin is not an expert in marketing, so he used basic social media tools to promote his products.
To his surprise, the page wooed followers from all over Oman, with his Instagram handle clocking in at more than 7,000 followers.
“I thought that the perception of recycled products was negative. I never knew that people in Oman would be so excited to own recycled furniture,” he said.
Today, restaurants like Muscat Grills in Nizwa are decorating their businesses with his recycled tables and chairs.
“I even got requests from Turkey,” he said.
Al Rawahi now shares his knowledge and carpentry skills through workshops in schools and offices.
He stated that safety is his number one concern when it comes to work.
“In my workshops, I emphasize on the importance of safety. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s harm,” he said.
Mazin learned about the importance of safety the hard way.
“When I first used welding equipment, I was uninformed about the importance of covering your face. At night, I temporarily lost my sight and had to apply cold water to my eyes to cool them down.”
A full set of four chairs and a table can be purchased for between RO100 and RO140. Mazin can be contacted via his Instagram account @mazin.alrawahi.
How do you upcycle your well-worn treasures at home? Drop us a line in the comments below and tell us your thoughts!