Kenya Association of Manufacturers launches plastic recycling plan gearing towards circular economy

KENYA – The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) and Sustainable Inclusive Business under the Kenya Private Sector Alliance Foundation (SIB-K), has officially launched the business plan model for a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO).

The model, a first of its kind in the country is geared towards championing collection of used plastic containers and oversee recycling efforts.

This is part of the ministry’s and the private sector’s aggressive and continued efforts in addressing Kenya’s challenges in waste disposal especially plastics, supporting the swift shift from a liner economy to a more sustainable circular economy.

“The responsibility to properly manage them must be taken jointly by all entities putting plastics on the market, including both local and international companies.”

KAM CEO – Ms Phyllis Wakiaga.

Kenya has been implementing increasingly stringent rules against use of plastics to protect the environment.

The ban on plastic carrier bags in 2017 was recently followed by a prohibition on single-use plastics in protected areas including national parks, forests and beaches.

Plastics are, however, still allowed in packaging of consumer goods such as bread and soda and manufacturers say this can continue if recycling is stepped up.

The role of the PRO, which is a membership organization, will be to ensure plastics are collected, sorted and recycled after use.

In this case, the private sector will bear significant responsibility for the post-consumer phase of single-use goods.

This includes both financial and/or physical, such as the cost of disposing and or recycling post-consumer goods; a factor that is expected to promote proper waste management practices among Kenyan businesses.

“The PRO will target international and local companies. This is based on the fact that all plastics, that are consumed and processed in Kenya, are imported in one way or the other.

“Therefore, the responsibility to properly manage them must be taken jointly by all entities putting plastics on the market, including both local and international companies,” said Ms Phyllis Wakiaga, CEO, KAM.

Plastics have become a ubiquitous material in today’s economy due to their unrivalled functional properties.

However, due to the poor waste management practices, plastic waste is often the biggest source of environmental degradation and pollution.

Regrettably, only about 10% of the plastic waste is recycled in Kenya. At this rate, oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050, indicated SIB-K.

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In supporting this business plan model, SIB-K, the knowledge centre at KEPSA through the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), further cements its efforts to drive the sustainability agenda in Kenya.

The foundation helps businesses to adopt best practices that ensure a balance in finding benefits between the People, the Planet as well as Profits.

When completed, PRO is projected to increase the capacity of Kenyan companies to take responsibility for plastic waste.

It will also contribute to job creation, directly within the entity, as well as indirectly for waste collectors in Kenya.

Nonetheless, the country has made numerous efforts through both private and public sectors to ensure that plastics are used in a sustainable manner., have been acknowledged as admirable initiatives that consider environmental sustainability.

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