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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Here is how this Kenyan factory is recycling plastic waste into bricks

Matee set up her factory after she ran out of patience waiting for the government to solve the problem of plastic pollution." I was tired of being on the sidelines," she said.

By: Reuters | Nairobi |
Updated: February 4, 2021 11:03:10 am
Kenyan recycles plastic waste into bricks stronger, plastic into bricks, plastic bricks, waste recycle. trending, indian express, indian express news,The founder plans to add another, bigger, production line that could triple capacity and hopes to break even by year-end.

Nzambi Matee hurls a brick hard against a school footpath constructed from bricks made of recycled plastic that her factory turns out in the Kenyan capital.

It makes a loud bang, but does not crack.”Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete,” said Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials.

“There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” Matee said, strolling past sacks of plastic waste. Matee gets the waste from packaging factories for free, although she pays for the plastic she gets from other recyclers. Her factory produces 1,500 bricks each day, made from a mix of different kinds of plastic.

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These are high-density polyethene, used in milk and shampoo bottles; low-density polyethene, often used for bags for cereals or sandwiches; and polypropylene, used for ropes, flip-top lids and buckets.

Matee set up her factory after she ran out of patience waiting for the government to solve the problem of plastic pollution. (Source: Reuters)

But she does not work with polyethene terephthalate or PET, commonly used for plastic bottles. The plastic waste is mixed with sand, heated and then compressed into bricks, which are sold at varying prices, depending on thickness and colour.

Their common grey bricks cost 850 Kenyan shillings ($7.70) per square metre, for example. Matee, a materials engineer who designed her own machines, said her factory has recycled 20 tonnes of waste plastic since its founding in 2017.

A worker at the Gjenge Makers, a social enterprise that recycles and up-cycles waste plastic. (Source: Reuters)

She plans to add another, bigger, production line that could triple capacity and hopes to break even by year-end.

Matee, a materials engineer who designed her own machines, said her factory has recycled 20 tonnes of waste plastic since its founding in 2017. (Source: Reuters)

Matee set up her factory after she ran out of patience waiting for the government to solve the problem of plastic pollution.” I was tired of being on the sidelines,” she said.

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