Mombasa County finds itself at the epicenter of a daunting problem – as it's home to the highest concentration of plastic pollution along the entire Kenyan coast. Each day, this region churns out a staggering 81 metric tonnes of plastic waste. What's truly alarming is that only half of this plastic waste ever makes it to recycling facilities. The rest? - is left littering the environment and seeping its way into the ocean at an alarming rate.
So, why is this plastic such a big problem? It boils down to the indestructible nature of plastic. It takes hundreds of years to decompose plastic, making it outlast many generations of humanity. Fish, marine mammals, birds, sea turtles and zooplankton are ingesting plastic either as whole pieces or as microplastic. This results in their malnutrition, intestinal blockage, or slow plastic poisoning leading to their death.
Without marine life, the very foundation of the “Blue Economy” is at risk. In Coastal Kenya hundreds of thousands of people, rely on the ocean for jobs and food. Under this backdrop we initiated the Plastic Waste to Value Innovation Challenge as part of the DANIDA Market Development Partnership (DMDP) - Waste to Value project, which seeks to promote a circular plastics economy and provide technical support and resources to businesses and organizations working towards effective plastic waste management in Mombasa.
The Innovation Challenge runs for 18 months and aims to discover inventive solutions for managing plastic waste. It's a collaborative effort with private sector businesses in the plastic industry, with a focus on unlocking the potential for plastic recycling in Mombasa. Following a successful call, MDF Eastern and Southern Africa (MDF-ESA) shortlisted 7 enterprises for the innovation challenge in partnership with WWF-Kenya. MDF is currently providing Organisational Capacity Assessment, Enterprise support services to accelerate business, Access to quality knowledge, Training on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) & Benchmarking with industry experts to the selected enterprises to enhance their solutions.
Let us introduce you to a few of these remarkable enterprises taking part in the Waste to Value innovation challenge 2023:
- Yuchen, established in 2017 in Mtwapa, Kilifi County, specializes in Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastics. Their mission is collecting plastic waste from Mombasa, Kwale, and Kilifi Counties, for processing to an impressive 400 tonnes monthly. Yuchen's vision encompasses establishing sustainable business practices that set new industry standards and offering more jobs to Mombasa youth and women.
- Jill Industries, founded in 2017 in Bamburi, Mombasa, has evolved from a plastic waste aggregator into a significant industry player. With approximately 30 dedicated workers, they specialize in processing HDPE, LDPE plastics and manufacturing of plastic water tanks from recycled plastic. Jill Industries aims to enhance safety and health industry practices while expanding its capacity to handle more plastic waste.
- Rintz, part of Vintz Plastics, is a women-led material collection facility writing a success story in Mombasa. They collect HDPE, LDPE, Polypropylene (PP), and PET plastics from various counties and are dedicated to sustainable growth, focusing on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) practices and collaboration with local community plastic aggregators.
- Double Roman, established in 2017 in Bamburi, is a formidable player in plastic waste aggregation, with a focus on HDPE plastics. Their dedicated workforce of 25 to 28 individuals processes an impressive 90 tonnes of plastic waste monthly. Double Roman aims to refine its business processes in operations, management and support services to improve efficiency.
- Pollucare, since 2016, initially started as a garbage collection service in Ganjoni, Mombasa Town. The enterprise is now venturing into the plastic recycling value chain and has started collecting 200 kilograms of plastic per month. Pollucare is determined to make a difference by sorting plastics for resale up the waste value chain.
- Discover Brands, initiated in 2018 in Kwale, collaborates with informal players to focus on recycling HDPE plastic. Their goal is to foster networks and partnerships of women and youth groups collecting plastic waste with larger plastic recyclers. Discover Brands aims to promote green jobs in the community from plastic waste.
- Plastisafi, an offshoot of the Pwani Youth Network, is making waves since its 2022 inception in Jomvu subcounty. Despite a small team, they collect and aggregate HDPE and PET plastics, aiming to implement best business practices compliant with regulations.
These enterprises are dedicated plastic waste management champions in Mombasa County. They are combatting the menace of plastic pollution while paving the way for a sustainable future for their communities and with the communities. Collectively, not only are they preserving our oceans but also stimulating economic development and nurturing a more environmentally resilient world. We invite you to join us on this transformative expedition, as we work towards converting plastic waste into value and safeguarding our oceans for yourself and for generations to come.