Waste management is a critical issue that affects the environment and human health worldwide. In Kenya, however, the circular economy is revolutionising waste management by reducing waste and maximising the use of resources. The circularity approach creates a closed-loop system where waste is minimised, and the value of resources is retained. In Kenya, circularity is being applied to various types of waste, including plastic, food, and electronic waste.
Kenya generates over 22,000 tons of plastic waste every month, with only 9% of this waste being recycled. This waste ends up in landfills, waterways, and the ocean, leading to environmental pollution and health hazards. Circular economy initiatives in Kenya are encouraging the recycling of plastic waste and the production of new products from recycled plastic, which can create a new revenue stream for the economy.
Similarly, food waste is a significant problem in Kenya, with over 10 million tons going to waste yearly, contributing to environmental pollution and food insecurity. Circular economy solutions are reducing food waste by encouraging the use of food waste as animal feed or for biogas production. These solutions help create new income opportunities for local communities and support sustainable food systems.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is another significant problem in Kenya, with over 17,000 tons generated yearly. Most of this waste ends up in landfills, where it can release hazardous chemicals into the environment. Safaricom, one of the leading telecommunications companies in Kenya, has partnered with WeeCenter, a Nairobi-based e-waste management company, to manage e-waste generated by Safaricom’s operations. This partnership is an example of how the private sector can contribute to sustainable waste management and reduce environmental pollution.
The current state of circularity in Kenya is mixed. Although the government has introduced policies and regulations to support circularity, there are still significant challenges to adopting circularity in Kenya. These include limited waste collection and recycling infrastructure, inadequate funding, and a lack of awareness and education on the benefits of circularity at a household level.
However, the first-ever Kenya Loop event is a hopeful sign of progress in the circular economy in Kenya. From the conversations and the range of exhibitors in the sectors, there’s a clear positive sign of progress, such as the growth of the recycling industry and the increasing number of companies adopting circular business models. The Kenya Loop event has provided a much-needed conversation on the topic and generated positive progress, demonstrating the potential for circular economy solutions to transform waste management in Kenya.
The circular economy is a game-changer in waste management that can promote sustainable development and support the transition to a green economy. As we continue to explore the potential of circular economy solutions, let’s promote circularity in Kenya and work together to close the loop.
Let’s transform waste into value and create new opportunities for the future.
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