Recycling in Kenya

Guest Blogger – Wambui, NC Central intern from Kenya

Guest Blogger – Wambui, NC Central intern from Kenya

When I was a young girl, I remember these Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling men who would carry large sacks on their backs. The sacks were full of bottles, and they would go around the estates asking for any empty glass bottles. As children, we were both scared and intrigued by these men. Scared because they often looked like street people and intrigued because they gave us a shilling for every bottle we had. We loved that shilling; in those days it would buy a lot of candy.

Another recycling method we had growing up was the retailers’ deposit system. When we went to buy sodas at a shop, the shop keeper would charge you for the drink and the bottle. When you returned the soda bottle you would receive your deposit back.

These are the two systems that I saw growing up. I now recognize them as recycling systems.

Packaging in Kenya is different from U.S. packaging. Most of Kenya’s sodas are packaged in glass bottles, therefore plastic bottles and aluminum cans are not wastes that we struggle with. Kenya’s waste is mostly plastic shopping bags.

Even though Kenya is rife with plastic and paper bag waste in landfills throughout cities and the countryside, there is an inherent recycling culture. Here is an example of what is being done with the old plastic bags in Kenya - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFq3EoxJg3A

Nothing is used once and discarded in Kenya। Margarine tubs are washed out and reused as lunch boxes. Paper grocery bags are used twice or three times before they wear out and can no longer be used. Even napkins in restaurants are cut into two so that they are used twice.

1 comment:

Dodge This! said...

I was familiar with plastic lumber as a decking material, but never imagined it could be used to hold up a roof. Thanks for the post!