The Integrated Plastics Recovery and Recycling project is unique as it recycles dirty plastic containers (polythenes) using a novel technique and converts them into plastic poles. No other plastic recycler is known to be able to recycle dirty polythenes (LDPE) that litter the environment without first undergoing a washing process. It is thus a process that minimises resource use.
Plastic waste, collected by community members, is used as the raw material for durable and sustainable plastic poles. The poles are then used as fences or as other construction materials within the building sector, which is the main market.
In doing that, the initiative creates employment and generates community participation for marginalised youth and women in urban Kenya. It also benefits a large number of poor garbage collectors by improving their livelihoods. Over 200,000 ‘green’ jobs will be created in the first year.
Furthermore, the poles made out of recycled dirty polythenes provide an alternative to timber as a building material and thus help to conserve forest which also contributes to mitigating climate change. Besides contributing to protecting the environment, the initiative also reuses non-biodegradable pollutants.
Waste management is one of the first visible issue in developing countries. Lots of people collect plastic bottles where I live (in Laos), and I could easily see such an initiative take off. I heard that 1 kilo of plastic bottles is worth about US$0,12.