Created in June 2018, Kwale Plastic Plus Collectors (KPPC) has grown. The social enterprise working to change the waste management system of Diani Beach now has 30 waste collection points stretching from Kongo Mosque to Lantana where residents can drop their waste-free of charge. With a team of 12 people (six bin collectors and six waste
sorters), they collected 47,000 kgs of waste in 2019. This year the COVID-19 outbreak has affected their work. With restrictions on maximum people riding in a vehicle, they have had to limit the number of garbage collectors, slowing down the speed of collection. Expenses also increased as the trucks provided for the collection of garbage by hotels are on hold due to maintenance.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, KPPC and FlipFlopi in partnership with Diani Municipality and Kwale County Government established the Trash4Cash (T4C) program. The objective was to help young adults from the community earn some much needed income during this pandemic and to clean up the local environment especially public spaces. Since May 26th 2020, every Tuesday and Thursday, a large team has been collecting garbage along the Lunga Lunga Road, and the Diani Beach Road. While observing social distancing and wearing protective gear, teams clean up trash lying in pools of dirty muddy water, drainage channels and the roadside. T4C supports 20 people plus 6 KPPC staff who lead the project, helping them provide for their families by covering the basics of food and rent.
“We only give them money; it is really important for the local economy. By giving them money and not food, they are redistributing that money by buying their food from the kibandas and kiosks on the side of the road, and directly from the small-scale farmers. That's how the local economy works” said Susan Scull-Carvalho, Founder of KPPC. In total, this project provided the cash for 6,090 meals to support over 192 people and their families during the 12-week period.
But where does all that trash go? When KPPC began, the FlipFlopi team donated 2.8 acres of land in Muhaka (south Ukunda) to be used as the sorting and transfer site for the waste collected. They were stockpiling the collected waste as no recycling facility was available in the area. The Depot was then used to further sort waste into specific types or fractions. Once sorted and in sufficient volume, it is then sold to selected recyclers of metal, paper and glass waste. Certain types of plastic are stored awaiting the construction of KPPCs own recycling facility, and even to make the next 70m FlipFlopi Dhow.
The T4C team was also given another major role: further separating the 4 categories of waste (plastic, paper, metal and glass) into 15 different fractions. Glass has to be separated by colour; soft paper, cardboard and coated paper are not the same; PET, PP, HDPE and LDPE and others are some of the different types of plastic that need to be repurposed differently; and finally, soft aluminium beer cans are separated from paint tins and other metal waste.
The first recycled plastic brick factory was built in 2019 in Ivory Coast with the support of a Colombian social enterprise Conceptos Plasticos.
They convert waste into bricks for school construction. The bricks are made from 100% plastic, are fire resistant, 40% cheaper, 20% lighter and are expected to last hundreds of years longer than conventional building materials. A future goal is to create a factory in Kwale County to convert recycled plastic into building material. “The next step is to start a trial production and market testing” added Susan.
Initially a 6 week “short-term” project, T4C has now been cleaning trash for more than 12 weeks. Over 12,500 kgs of trash has been collected from the streets and beaches of the South Coast. Thanks to the marathon challenge organized by the co-founder of FlipFlopi, Dipesh Pabari, T4C raised another $2500 which has enabled the T4C prog
ram to keep going for another month. At the same time, the team is getting ready for the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) starting on the 19th of September 2020 which is a major event that also coincides with #WorldCleanUpDay2020! Due to Covid-19, the 2020 ICC will last until end of October, so take a look at the Team Kenya ICC 2020 Facebook page and find out when and where you can join in and support the ICC from wherever you are whether in Lamu or any other location spanning south to Vanga!