KEPSA in partnership with Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) with Nairobi City County and Kiambu County as implementing partners of the Partnership for New Plastics Economy Project under the Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals (P4G), organized for a training on Circular Approach to Waste Management for Waste Service Providers and Recyclers on 15th and 22nd February 2021 at Professional Center, Nairobi. The project objective is to spur a circular approach to the management of plastic waste in Kenya with one of the specific objectives being to increase the recycling rates of PET bottles through the piloting of a coordinated take-back scheme and to build market demand for merchandise produced from recycled PET bottles.
The Kenyan Constitution guarantees every Kenyan a clean and healthy environment, mandating the government to enact several legislations, policies, strategies and creating environmental protection bodies. Kenyan county governments are challenged by collection, recycling, treatment and disposal of the ever-increasing quantities of solid waste. The government of Kenya has developed the Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill that seeks to transform the management of waste from a linear to a circular economy in Kenya. In a circular economy, materials are kept at their highest value and are optimally used to generate value. Recovery of materials takes precedence as opposed to disposal.
Every single day the average Kenyan uses items that are packaged in PET plastic, including soft drinks, water bottles, alcoholic beverages and cosmetics. Unfortunately, a large percentage of these products end up in legal and illegal dumpsites across the country instead of being sent to a recycling center. The training for waste collectors and recyclers was organized to build capacity and create awareness on the need to maintain the integrity of materials collected especially at the household level and the critical role waste collectors play in realizing a circular value chain.
The Coordinator of the New Plastics Economy, Ms. Faith Ngige expounded to the waste service providers on the need to transform to a circular approach for waste management and the new framework that will be created by extended producer responsibility regulations. The training facilitator, Ms. Anyango Nyamori who is also the CEO of Sustainability Africa, equipped the collectors will knowledge and skills of identification of various categories of waste materials, classification of recyclable and non-recyclables, collectors starter minimum requirements including types of equipment, record keeping, reporting and health, and safety issues. In addition, the participants learned best case studies in PET collection including the Denmark Return System, Producer Responsibility Organization in South Africa and compared that with Kenya’s Case.
Through group work, the Waste Collectors made recommendations to improve the waste service provision in Kenya as follows: Waste Collection should be formalized and regulated so that there are licensed Waste Collection Managers and Collectors: the service providers should have uniform personal protective equipment and the uniform of a given color to help them shed off the: Chokora” tagline; the consumers should have the contact of the waste manager of the youth group in the area and have a copy of their license; the government to enhance awareness of waste categories and enforce waste collection at source, there should be regular training of garbage collectors for sensitization and innovation purposes and they should be financed and supported to acquire proper equipment for delivery of their work.
The training was conducted The collectors were drawn from the pilot counties of Nairobi and Kiambu under the New Plastics Economy Partnership and covered the areas, Ruiru, Githurai, Kasarani, Ruaraka, Roysambu, Kikuyu, Thika and Embakasi. There is a need to formalize this Waste Collection Services in the Country, as the players are critical in reverse logistics and realization of a circular approach to waste management in Kenya.