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Stimulating the PET recycling industry in Kenya


Last year, a Kenyan organisation was able to stimulate the PET recycling industry through its recycler subsidy programme, achieving a recycling rate of 38% or 7,400 tonnes of PET plastic bottles.

Established in 2018, PETCO Kenya uses PETCO’S successful South African model as its operating basis.

The introduction of additional installed recycling capacity will see revised targets of 10,000 tonnes in Kenya for 2020.

Strategically, PETCO Kenya seeks to leverage four priority areas to deliver on its mandate:

  • Support for collectors through training programmes and provision of equipment support in partnership with recycling partners.

  • Supporting the passing of legislation on the implementation of extended producer responsibility guidelines in Kenya.

  • Partnership with retail partners and other strategic institutions to roll out additional drop-off points for PET bottles.

  • Strategic partnerships with organisations to reduce the amount of plastics going into oceans and rivers. Of key focus will be the Kenya Wildlife Society, by providing collection points for PET bottles along coastal beaches.

PETCO South Africa are providing guidance and will continue to assist other African countries, like Ethiopia, where the PETCO model is being implemented. Although PETCO Kenya was only established in 2018, the organisation has already embarked on successful partnerships with e.g. recyclers, retailers and have opened up drop-off sites, making recycling easier for Kenyans.

Chinese company invests in Kenya’s recycling

Weeco Recycling Company Director Wang Zhangyin and Kenya PET Recycling Company Chairman John Waithaka sample the pellets in the recycling plant in Athi River. Image: Lucie Morangi / China Daily

In September last year a Chinese company, Weeco Recycling Co, injected $45 million of new capital into the plastic waste recycling sub-sector in Kenya to boost collection and recycling of plastic bottles in the East African country.

The recycling company converts post-consumer PET (polyethylene terephthalate) packaging into pellets, which are exported to the parent company, Weeco Technology Ltd, in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai, for the manufacture of polyester clothing fibre.

There are also plans to expand to Mombasa city. Wang Zhangyin, director of the company said, “We plan to inject $6 million in a new plant in Mombasa where we will buy 10 advanced machines. With this new equipment, we will be able to dispose of 3,000 tons of plastic bottles and products per month. We also plan to expand investments in our overseas operations.”

The company signed a partnership contract with the Kenya PET Recycling Company (PETCO), a voluntary and independent not-for-profit organization established to regulate the management of post-consumer PET packaging in the country.

Retailers step up public participation

Kenya PETCO Chairman John Waithaka (right) and Naivas Supermarkets Capital Centre Branch Manager Maurice Mwangi (centre) launch drop-off points recyclable products such as plastic, shampoo and glass bottles at the Capital Centre, Nairobi. Looking on is Retail Trade Association of Kenya CEO Wambui Mbarire.

PETCO Kenya has also partnered with supermarkets and malls. Last year they partnered with Naivas Supermarket and Capital Centre Mall to launch 5 drop-off sites in the city, where people can responsibly dispose of their recyclable materials.

The drop-off sites allow members of the public to return their recyclable products such as plastic bottles, shampoo bottles, glass bottles to the recycling partners.

PETCO Kenya Chairman John Withaka said that the drop-off points would offer consumers a solution for a disposal site for their recyclables, which currently ending up in dumpsites.

The partnership focuses on plastic waste management in Kenya – 1.3 million kg plastic waste is generated weekly in Kenya. The partnership will increase the use of recycled plastic products and improve the collection of plastic waste through voluntary schemes and policy recommendations.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency is engaged in the partnership through a Strategic Sector Cooperation project on recycling of plastic products between the Danish EPA and Kenyan authorities. The partnership, has received USD 100,000 to implement this project start-up.

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Y Not Freakin’ Recyclable Home

About Zohe

Environmentalist, Futurist, Lightworker, Wannabe naturalist. The way we are treating our world and environment is not going to end well! We need to change course NOW.

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