What do we know about plastic recycling?
Recycling waste plastic gives new life to other plastic products, while also protecting the environment from pollution. As a material, plastic has many advantages, however, special attention should be paid to plastic waste. Plastic recycling is the best solution for the plastic waste that is generated on a daily basis. Instead of taking up all the space in landfills, plastic bottles may have reusable value as a whole new product. Plastic does not break down easily, in fact it takes hundreds of years to decompose.
Plastic pollution is a global problem all over the world, including Kenya.
Young engineers in Nairobi, Kenya have found a way to make good use of disposable plastics in a country that does not have recycling capacity. They make bricks out of plastic. In June 2020, Kenya introduced a ban on disposable plastics in protected natural areas, such as national parks, beaches and forests. Earlier, in 2017, the country made headlines in the media after imposing a ban on plastic bags nationwide. However, plastic is constantly piling up in this African country. In the capital Nairobi alone, about 500 metric accurate plastic waste is generated daily. While the country has the capacity to recycle only part of it, there are fears that an additional 500 tonnes will enter the country. This is the result of a new free trade agreement between Kenya and the United States.
Credits to: gjenge.co.ke
Mzamvi Matee is a materials engineer in Kenya who has found a way to get rid of plastic pollution. She could not bear the negligence of the authorities, so she found a solution to solve the problem herself. She created bricks from recycled plastic. According to Matee, she turns garbage into money. Matee turns plastic waste bags into building materials, and in fact bricks are five to seven times stronger than ordinary concrete bricks. Mzamvi Matee created a company that does all this. Her company produces about 1,500 bricks every day at its factory. Her factory has so far recycled as much as 20 tons of plastic waste from the production line, which Matee actually designed herself. The company works with packaging plants, which unload their waste free of charge at the Matee plant, so that they save on transportation to recycling companies.
As Matee explains, there is a waste that can no longer be recycled, that is exactly the waste they get in Matee’s factory. She explains that at her company Ghenge Makers, bricks are made of three types of plastic: high – density polyethylene, low – density polyethylene and polypropylene, which are materials found in all types of plastic waste such as shampoo bottles to plastic buckets. Waste plastic bags delivered to the factory are mixed with sand and then compressed into brick molds of various shapes, sizes and colors. Metee explains that she could no longer see from the side how the authorities deal with waste in Kenya, so she set up her company. Matee’s innovation is such a success story that it plans to open a second production line with a triple capacity increase.