Kenya: Social responsibility with plastics recycling

At this year’s Propak East Africa in Nairobi (March 17-19,2020), visitors to the shared trade fair stand (D9 in the Tsavo Hall) can find out how the recycling company Mr Green Africa combines social responsibility with the high specification technology and cost effectiveness. Since the beginning of the year a new Erema Intarema 1108 TVEplus RegrindPro with laser filter has been processing industrial and household waste plastic to produce recyclate at the company’s plant in Nairobi. Trade fair visitors are invited to take part in Mr Green Africa’s plant tours on 18 and 25 March to see for them the recycling quality live in action.

International interest is being attracted by a business idea in Nairobi, Kenya, which is unique in the plastics industry. Starting in 2014, the start-up company Mr Green Africa has succeeded in establishing a collection and sorting system for plastics from industrial and household waste in the greater Nairobi area. The company is interested in upgrading the waste collection system to provide the many “waste pickers” with fair and stable pay. Today, Mr Green Africa is an important employer in the region with over 100 permanent employees and almost 2,000 “waste pickers”.

As of February, the young entrepreneurs have expanded their business model and no longer sell only washed flakes, but now recycle directly on site at their plant in Nairobi. The Institute for Polymer Materials and Testing at the Johannes Kepler University Linz carried out material analysis in advance to specify the recycling technology needed to achieve high quality recyclate despite the level of contamination of the input material. In the end they chose to go for Erema, for the Intarema 1108 TVEplusRegrindPro with laser filter, which specialises in processing challenging post consumer materials.

Regional buyers for the recyclate were quickly found, such as Unilever Africa. The packaging of the new Sunlight scouring powder, which was launched at the beginning of the year, consists 100 percent of material recycled by Mr Green. “The launch of the first truly circular plastic packaging for Sunlight scouring powder in Kenya is a great win for the environment and goes a long away in our quest to ensure that plastic only remains in our economy and stays clear of the environment,” says Bruno Witvoet, President Unilever Africa.

Caption: Keiran Smith and Karim Debabe in front of the new Intarema 1108 TVEplus RegrindPro made by Erema. The machine processes up to 500 kg/h of HDPE and up to 600 kg/h of PP plastic from household waste to produce recycled pellets.

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