KENYA – Unilever East Africa, subsidiary of the North America headquartered consumer goods group, has tapped 140 schools in Kenya under its plastic recycling initiative that seeks to cut down plastic pollution.

Through the partnerships, the learning institutions will collect plastics into specific collection centres that will be used that will be recycled for use in the manufacture of other products.

This will increase the collection centres under the Unilever recycling partnership with Mr Green Africa to 212, including 25 that are not schools, reports Business Daily.

Last year, Unilever East Africa signed a partnership with Mr Green Africa, a Nairobi-based recycling firm, with an aim of increasing plastic recycling efforts in the country- a deal that saw the consumer goods company inject Sh30 million (US$0.3m) in Mr Green.

Mr Green Africa uses plastic waste in the manufacture of plastic product including water tanks as well as packaging materials for use by Unilever.

The consumer good company says the venture will cut down pollution and boost Kenya’s recycling business as part of its global plan to make the plastic it uses recyclable or reusable by 2025.

“We are increasing the number by 140 schools that will act as both collection centres and help create awareness on the U-turn initiative. We are setting aside Sh4million (US$0.04m) for the programme,” Unilever Sustainable Business and Corporate Affairs director Joseph Sunday said.

This increases Unilever’s investment into Mr Green Africa to Sh34 million (US$0.34m) in establishing plastic collection centres.

Under the deal, Mr Green Africa currently gets between 100 to 150 kilos of plastics per day from the 25 collection centres spread across Nairobi.

Currently, there are slightly above 2,000 people contracted by Mr Green Africa’s recycling plant to deliver plastic waste into the firm in Nairobi.

“We are still looking at Mombasa and Kisumu but we will identify where we are going in the next three months. The schools have however increased by about 147 and will act as awareness and collection centres,” Mr Green Africa’s chief executive, Keiran Smith, revealed.

Unilever joins other local and multinationals such as Coca-Cola Diageo, and Nestle   in fast-tracking collection and recycling of plastic bottles amid the growing public alarm over pollution.