Waste Free in '23 Initiative Crowdsources Groundbreaking Profitable Waste Solution
Nairobi /PRNewswire/ - Today, Nairobi non-profit Slums Going Green and Clean (SGGC) announced the success of its open-source Waste Free in '23 initiative utilizing profitable micro-recycling centers. In January 2023, two centers recycled five tons of mixed plastic waste with plans to increase their recycling capacity to 15 centers and 75 tons of waste per month by the end of 2023.
"To change the plastics situation in Kenya, we need an all-in approach. Solutions on the ground -- and from the ground in the informal sector need to find a place in the value chain for good, just as much as the players do. We must rethink product design to ensure recyclability, and always keep materials in the loop," says Karin Boomsma, Project Lead at the Kenya Plastics Pact (KPP).
"At the end of 2022, we recovered, recycled, and repurposed all common plastic types collected from the Nairobi River and Kibera at our first micro-recycling center," said Brian Nyabuti, founder of SGGC. "Nairobi, like the rest of the world, was recycling less than 10% of plastic waste and disposing of the rest in landfills, communities, and the environment," referring to the 2021 report from the UN Environmental Programme. "With these innovations we can turn any type of plastic, including food wrappers and packaging, into products like bins, chairs, roof panels and fence posts."
A cadre of engineers, scientists, and recyclers collaborated with the Waste Free in '23 initiative to solve trash and recycling problems in low-income communities. The team adapted common recycling equipment used at major recycling centers to create a micro-recycling center in Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi. Equipment for a micro-recycling center costs $2000 and consists of a shredder, plastic slicer, heat press, and molds that can process up to 200 kilograms of waste per day. The Kibera micro-recycling center was funded through crowdsourcing.
The center inserts soft plastics unwashed and unsorted into a heat press. In just 10 minutes, the plastic is bonded into components used to create products that are sold to the local community. The small amount of plastic that should not be heated can be shredded and added to concrete. The micro-recycling center is staffed with four workers who earn a living wage.
"We are turning trash into treasure," said Nyabuti. "We no longer have to dump,burn,or truck our plastic waste to landfills. And with the equipment designed to be low cost and to be built anywhere in the world, thousands of communities can join Kibera in becoming Waste Free in '23."
Slums Going Green and Clean (SGGC) is a non-profit based in Nairobi, Kenya. Find its open-sourced materials on micro-recycling at https://www.wastefree23.org
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Kenyan Plastic Pact (KPP) is an ambitious, collaborative initiative that brings together stakeholders across the whole plastics value chain to transform the current linear plastics system into a circular economy for plastics. https://kpp.or.ke/