Environment

Kenyan women turning plastic waste into usable bricks

Kenyan engineers through Gjenge Makers are turning plastic waste into a business opportunity. Kenya has no adequate capacity to recycle plastic waste and through the initiative, Gjenge Makers are making good use of the mounting plastic waste in the country into usable bricks.

In 2017, Kenya passed a law that banned nationwide production and use of plastic bags in the country. the ban on the use of single-use plastic waste in protected areas such as national parks, beaches, and forests was imposed in 2017.

Despite the measures put in place to control the use of plastics, the waste keeps on pilling up in the country. Nairobi alone is estimated to generate approximately 500 metric tonnes of plastic waste every single day. In a country with a weak capacity to control the use of plastic waste, the increasing use of plastic waste increases the amount of waste to already existing heaps of waste in the country.

The United Nations 2018 report estimated that 13 million tonnes of plastic waste enter into oceans every year. This has threatened the marine ecosystem endangering aquatic life.

It is for this reason Nzambi Matee founded Gjenge Makers to address the plastic waste menace in the country. The main goal of the enterprise is to address the need for sustainable and affordable alternative construction materials in the country and beyond.

The plastic waste is processed using cutting-edge technologies and mixed with sand to form mold. The mold is used to make paving blocks, paving tiles, and manhole covers. The Gjenge Makers founder claimed that the bricks are five to seven times stronger than the concrete ones.

Through the initiative, the enterprise has managed to recycle over 20 tonnes of plastic waste. Their vision is in line with Global Sustainable Development Goals through waste recycling and providing alternative sustainable construction materials. This will in the long- term promote environmental sustainability.

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