Innovative capacity building on waste recovery and marketing

Teaching about waste

On the 25th August 2015, Nuru Youth Group in Ngong had rare visitors when their counter parts from Mwakirunge dumpsite in Mombasa came to get a lesson from them on the success of waste recovery business. This was made possible through sponsorship by Action Aid, Bamburi who catered for the trip. This was after a visit by a team from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Nairobi Regional Office in July on a survey mission who shared with the group on the success of the Ngong group.

The Mombasa group comprised of three groups working within the Mwakirunge area on matters concerning the dumpsite. The groups included;
* Usafi ni Uhai – an advocacy group on safe waste disposal in the area
* Pickers – does sorting and recovery of materials for sale
* Bamburi Environmental Watchdog – advocate on environmental concerns of the people and is involved in environmental conservation.

The first stop for this group was at the NEMA headquarters where they paid a curtesy call to the Director Environmental Education Information and Public Participation, Dr. Ayub Macharia. He took the opportunity to welcome the groups to Nairobi. He said this was a great opportunity for the group because the Ngong Project was action oriented. He gave the background of the Ngong project and the successes achieved so far. The achievements include
* increased waste recovery,
* improved livelihoods for segregators,
* better market for recovered materials,
* improved capacity for waste segregators
* less social conflicts and
* improved compliance to environmental standards.

He reiterated that the Ngong group has been linked with the industry recyclers after a successful meeting with them and afterwards visited some of the recycling plants.

It was also noted that NEMA has been supporting peer to peer learning through visits to other waste segregators. He highlighted for instance the exchange visit with DAJOPEN group in Kitale where the group learnt on composting of organic fertilizer. The outcome of this visit is commencement of waste composting at Ngong dump site.

He also noted that NURU group has started a pig project which has boosted their earnings. He noted that in March 2015, the group had over 300 pigs and each was sold at Kshs 12000 and this amounts to Kshs 3.6 million, hence the group had made huge profits. This announcement made the Mwakirunge group very excited.

He went ahead to say NEMA has constructed a store, sorting shed and a toilet for the Ngong group to improve on the group’s working environment.

Addressing Mwakirunge visitors

The Director EEIPP Dr. Ayub Macharia addressing the Mwakirunge group during their visit to NEMA headquarters

The Director said the future plans for the project is to increase technologies of waste recycling and value addition. The ultimate goal is to make the Ngong project an informal learning centre for waste segregators and recyclers.

The challenges the project experiences are data collection and management of group dynamics. He said secret to success for this project hinges on addressing issues such as

* Being organized and registered with relevant government institutions
* Improving group dynamics and coherence among members
* Expanding group membership
* Resource mobilization from government agencies and others to support group activities
* innovativeness of the group members

NEMA is working closely with NURU group to address these issues to make the project successful.

The Mombasa group then raised several questions which were responded to the satisfaction of the visitors. Then the visitors proceeded to Ngong to learn more in a practical manner.

In Ngong the visitors were welcomed by the Nuru youth group chairman who shared with them on

*background of the group,

*progress made so far

*challenge faced

*conflict resolution among members.

He said so far the group has 132 members comprising of 91 females and 41 men. The waste is normally received from Karen, Kiserian, Rongai and Ngong town. He said the aim of the group is to market the waste recovered as a group and take it directly to the recyclers and hence avoid brokers.

Mwakirunge group

Learning at Ngong dump site

The visitors learning from Nuru Youth Group at the Ngong dumpsite on how to make wealth from waste

The Chairman clarified that within the NURU umbrella group, there are other smaller groups who are engaged on different activities.

* Emmanuel group which has 10 members and was registered in 2014. They are involved in pig rearing, buying recovered materials from the non-members such as bones and old slippers, composting and saving for members.

* Garbage is Gold women group has 14 members and is involved in activities such as composting, sorting of brown and white papers, table banking and was in process of establishing a SACCO.

* Neema Group is newly formed and currently recruiting members. They plan to do chicken rearing and savings for members.

* Ngong women faithful group has 17 members and is registered. It is involved in pig rearing, merry go round, sorting of polythene bags and white paper and other welfare issues touching on members.

* Young Nation group is involved with composting.

The chairman said elections are held after every one year and members have developed by- laws to manage day to day running of the group. Some of the by-laws the group has are like;
* Abuses in the group lead to suspension for two weeks from the working area
* Theft leads to expulsion of the member from the group
* Fighting or violence leads to one month expulsion
* Children not allowed to work in the dumpsite or even coming to stay there

Display of waste recovered

Nuru group members demonstrate the various types of waste recovered at the dumpsite for recycling

Working at the dumpsite is alternated between men and women to avoid crowding and conflict over materials. Hence men and women collect waste on different days. Conflict resolution mechanisms are well established.

Benefits by Nuru group members for working in the dumpsite include;
* Educating their children up-to secondary level
* Buying residential plots
* The assets bought using money earned from the dump site is used as collateral for micro finance loans
* Decent life for their families

The Mwakirunge team was taken through the recyclable material recovered from the dumpsite. This include the list below though not exhaustive;
* Low density (LD) polythene bags
* Laminated paper
* Water plastic bottles
* Scrap metal and tins
* Brown and white paper
* Bones
* Beer bottles
* Slippers and shoe soles
* Copper and aluminum wires
* Waste food for feeding pigs
* Organic materials for making compost.

The visitors were also taken through the rearing of pigs and composting of organic waste as part of economic activities undertaken by the Nuru group members in Ngong.

Visit to recycling plants

On the 26th August 2015, the Mombasa group visited 3 recycling plants to experience the recycling process and secure market for their materials.

The first plant to visit was Kamongo Paper recyclers who are specialized in buying, sorting and bailing waste for sale to local recyclers and also for export. Mr. Norbert Agesa on behalf of the company offered to buy brown and white paper as well as old gunny bags from the visiting group. He also gave the contacts of their agent in Mombasa to work with the group and be organizing for transport of materials to Nairobi.

Kamongo visit1Kamongo visit2

The Mwakirunge group tour Kamongo paper recycler in industrial area where waste is sorted and bailed.

The second plant to visit was Friendly Polymers Limited that is specialized in recycling polythene bags and hard plastics. Mr. Nitin Shah offered to organize for purchase of plastics collected by the group though the greatest challenge is transport. He promised the group that if they can collect good tonnage of the waste, his company can provide a shredding machine on site at the dumpsite.

Polymer1Polymer2

The group tours Friendly Polymers limited which is involved in plastic recycling

The last plant to visit was the Pan African Paper Mills who recycle brown and white paper for book covers and tissue paper. Mr Timothy Rop and Mr. Ndungu lead the group in tour for the plant. Finally there was a brief meeting with the plant CEO, Mr. Markesh who assured the group of the market for all the materials collected by the group. He appreciated the efforts by NEMA to involve groups in waste recovery thus making people discover the wealth in our dumpsite. The company promised the group that they will also organize for transport from Mombasa to Nairobi once the group collects enough tonnage.

Pan African1Pan African2

Visit at Pan African Paper Mills where the group  saw the various categories of waste paper and met the Managing Director, Mr, Markesh.

Finally the tour came to the end with the Mombasa group going home with the challenge to collect enough materials to supply to the secured market. Through Action Aid the group thanked NEMA for organizing and coordinating the tour programme which was very productive. They promised to fulfill the milestones attained in increasing waste recovery and supply the market.
The departing shot was ‘Turning trash to cash is the way to go’.

Report done by Mr Shieni Koyiet, Regional Coordinator, NEMA Nairobi region

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Working with youth in a dump site in waste entrepreneurship

plastic bottles for recycling

On 4th August 2015, staff of the National Environment Management Authority EEIPP department visited the Ngong waste management project. This initiative was established during the World Clean-up day 2012, held in Ngong town, Kajiado County. NEMA collaborated with NURU group whose members are youths residing in this area and operate at the dumpsite, to promote a pilot waste segregation project. The group has 135 members comprising of men, women, and youths. The dumpsite receives a lot of waste from Karen, Rongai, Kiserian, Ngong town, and other areas of Kajiado County. The land belongs to the County Government of Kajiado.

Purpose of the visit

To NEMA team visited the site to
* present Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the Nuru Group members: 20 pairs of gumboots, 15 pairs of gloves, and 15 overalls.
* To monitor the progress of the project.

Progress and Achievements

-The Nuru Group is highly organized since it is registered with the District Social Services Department. It has elected officials who oversee the progress of the project and also has a bank account.

-The PPEs presented would be given to members who had previously not acquired them. Hence, there will be improved occupational health and safety within the dumpsite. NEMA officials promised to support the group by finding more sponsors who will provide more PPEs and other needed support.

Presenting PPEs to NURU group

PPEs

Dr. Ayub presenting the PPEs to members

Workers wearing PPEs

PPEs provided and some members wearing their PPEs

-The Nuru group is already practicing sorting and waste recovery. For instance, they segregate plastics bottles and other items, put them into bags, weigh and sell to waste recyclers. They also recover used white papers (for printing) and low density polythene papers, pack and sell them to recyclers. Apparently, there is evidence of increased waste recovery.

Waste sorted

Waste recovered

-The project has improved Nuru group members’ lifestyles. Recovering waste and selling it to recyclers has become a source of livelihood for the members. They also rear pigs which they sell for not less than 12,000 Kshs per each. In addition, they recover waste food, pack them into bags and sell them each at 60 Kshs to pig farmers.

Pig food

Recovered food waste packed in bags and each sold at Kshs 60

As noted by the NEMA staff present, there is a remarkable improvement among Members, not only financially but also physically and socially. In particular, they now look neater and easily communicate to visitors.
-There has been capacity building for the Nuru group members through training the members have acquired new skills of waste sorting and marketing. Through exchange visits, they have learnt how other similar groups have successfully ventured in waste-related entrepreneurship activities. For instance, in Kitale, the group learnt about waste composting. As an outcome of this visit, NURU group has already implemented a pilot composting bed at the Ngong dumpsite. While ready, the compost will be sold to farms such as flower farms, and will not only bring additional income for the members but also help reduce the incoming waste at the dumpsite.

Composting bed

The pilot composting bed at the dumpsite

-A shed and a store/office have already been constructed at the site. The shed and the store will help in sorting and storing of waste that can be damaged by wet weather condition such as white printing papers. They will also be used by the members to shelter from harsh weather conditions. Likewise, the office will help in the proper keeping of the records and in the general management of the dumpsite.

Waste sorting shed

NEMA officers and members outside the completed shed on the right, and office/store on the left

Talking to NURU members

Dr, Ayub talking to the Group Officials inside the store

Toilet at dump site

Standing outside toilet
Two pit latrines and a bathroom has been put up at the dumpsite and thus improving sanitation for the members.
_

CHALLENGES
1. The dumpsite was previously fenced, though lately the fence has gone down. This is because of the soggy nature of the dumpsite, and the leached chemicals from the waste that eat away the meshed wire fence. As a result, the waste from the dumpsite is encroaching in the neighboring church land, hence conflict.
2. Nuru Group members segregate, recover, and sell the waste as individuals. In this light, there lacks a collective recording strategy for the total waste recovered from the dumpsite.
3. There lacks proper infrastructure within the dumpsite, making mobility a challenge. As shown below, there is no road leading to the office/store and the sorting sheds.

No road in dump site
No road to the office

RECOMMENDATIONS
1. NEMA staff insisted on the need for proper recording, which will help to approximate the total waste recovered from the dumpsite. Such records will help in selling the project to potential sponsors and partners.
2. The recovered waste should be sold from a central point / collectively, to give the group greater bargaining power in the market. This will help eliminate brokers who take advantage of individual sellers.
3. There is need to label the shed and the store\office to create awareness of the groups present/managing the project.
4. There is need to fit gutters and purchase a tank to harvest rain water.
5. Nuru group members were suggesting that if possible tapped water could be drawn from a nearby borehole.
6. There is need for new fencing using concrete poles, which will withstand the site conditions.

WAY FORWARD
-NEMA is to find sponsors for a briquette making machine and a waste compressing machine for the Ngong dumpsite that will largely improve the project operations.
– There will be more exchange visits and expert training for the Nuru Group members, to help develop the project.

NEMA STAFF PRESENT
Dr. Ayub Macharia –Director, EEIPP
Mr. Shieni Koiyet – Nairobi Region Coordinator
Mr. Antony Mwangi- Graphic Officer 1
Ms. Christine Maina- Intern
Ms. Jeanne Njeri – Attachee

Prepared by Christine Maina and Anthony Mwangi

Group members sweeping the streetKitale waste group

On 9th May 2014, I was a participant in a one day seminar at University of Eldoret.The meeting was meant to discuss modalities to establish the Regional Centre of Expertise for Education for Sustainable Development for Upper Rift Valley Region. The meeting participants were drawn from diverse institutions including government ministries, county governments in the region, private sector and the civil society.

During the meeting, participants were expected to make presentations on what they are doing to promote sustainable development within the region. Several institutions made their presentations on diverse issues.

I was particularly impressed by a presentation from a Community Based Organization from Kitale which has specialized with value addition for solid waste. They have managed to create many jobs for the youth in the region and this isan initiative that can be replicated throughout the country to combat youth unemployment and poverty.

Dajopen Waste Management Group was formed by a group of 20 people in 2007. They make products using solid waste emanating from households, hotels, and slaughterhouses within Kitale Municipality.

The group collects solid waste dumped on the roadside using wheel burrows and take it to a processing site.

Collecting plastics

Sometimes the municipality tracks may dump the waste at their site since there is noother established mechanism to deal with solid waste. 

tractorThey isolate the organic waste and make it into compost manure. Hence at their site there is a huge mound of compostmanure which is normally invaded by healthy plants such as pumpkins.

Compost manure colonized by pumpkin

The members package the organic waste in different size of bags and market it as organic fertilizer.

 The members also develop liquid organic fertilizer which they sell to the local community.

The organic fertilizer has contributed to increase in crop yields such as bananas, maize, vegetables, congyet among others. This has contributed to food security and increased incomes for the people.

 The group also collects and adds value to plastic and polythene waste. Each member collects polythene waste when they come across it and even buy from other collectors.

The collected polythene bags and plastics are boiled in special chambers called the hopper. Note that the hopper is made from locally available materials. Can you identify these materials in your locality?

The liquid polythene paste is used to make plastic poles and roofing tiles.

Beautiful walls, joyful citizens

Flower wall

Most walls at homes and offices are plain. I am sure there can be no harm adding one or two flowers. You could be the supplier for the wall decorating flowers at very low cost but high profit. Learn how to do this from this link.

The waste cups which constitute the key raw material are readily available at your nearest dumpsite. Go for them and contribute to cleaning up our environment and creating jobs for our unemployed citizens.

Make colorful, fancy bangles for sale

bangle

Learn how to make colorful fancy bangles using waste plastic bottles and ribbon. It is so easy and the product is so appealing to the eye. If you do this for sale, you can make extra income for yourself.

Follow this link

Do not just sit there lamenting that there are no jobs. Look around for opportunities. That waste plastic bottle could change your fortunes.

Solid Waste for bus ticket

Group members sweeping the street

I bumped into this innovation from Australia and thought it could be prudent to share it. In Australia, someone is exchanging solid waste for bus tickets. You can read more here

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20143006-25778.html

Can someone initiate a similar innovation in the neighborhood to reduce the amount of waste getting to the dumpsite? Just try.

Opportunities

Waste is wealth

Waste is wealth

Everyone generates waste. Where and how do you dispose your waste? Are there fractions of waste that you generate that could earn income for you or for the local groups of residents? Follow the link below to learn diverse opportunities available for generating income from waste.

Access link from here

Please share the link widely.

Unemployed, smiling but ………

Plastic stool

Plastic stool

Recently, I paid a visit to Mr John Macharia, a young Kenyan in Eldoret. He ekes his living from plastic waste. He visits dumpsites to collect plastic waste and adds value to it at home through making the following items: 1. Solar water heaters 2. Picture frames 3. Flower vases 4. Incubators 5. Furniture 6. Tiles 7. Carvings 8. Knock down shelves and stool 9. Ice box 10. Cabro blocks 11. Beads 12. Wall plaques He does this using very affordable technology as can be seen from this short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvEvOVoqzAY You can read more details of his work from this link http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-171083/how-villager-turns-plastic-waste-artificial-limbs

Looking at the money bit of this activity where one collects waste that is readily available and free and quickly turns it to wealth at home, it is easy to conclude that this should be a viable job creation venture for the youth. I don’t discredit this investment but it is important to consider environmental aspects of this activity.

It is important to note that burning plastics in the open is dangerous since it releases toxic fumes containing dioxins and furans which are carcinogenic and also responsible for respiratory diseases.  Dioxin is associated with birth defects. Dioxin can be inhaled directly or deposited on soil, water and crops where it gets access to the food chain.

The plastics should be burnt in a chamber with temperatures above 982 degrees Celsius to denature the toxic gases.

Burning of plastics or polyninyl chrolide (PVCs) produces hydrogen chloride gas which mixes with moisture to form hydrochloric acid. If inhaled in our lungs, the fluid buildup could cause ulceration of the respiratory tract.

Lesson learnt Most times, we complain about unemployment. Most youths idle in urban centres doing nothing, just gossiping and planning evil. Why should one just complain about joblessness while there is a lot of solid waste wealth lying out there? After watching what Mr Macharia has done, please proceed and do something too. It will add a smile to somebody.

Plastics dream

plastic bottles for recycling

Lorna Ruto is a young Kenyan. She considers plastics as wealth. She resigned her accountant job to follow her dream. She recycles plastics and makes poles.  Her initiative has led to removal of 300 tonnes of plastic waste and has saved over 500 trees. Every day, these figures are rising and this helps to save trees. She is now one of the millionaires in Kenya. Listen to her inspiring story from this link.

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/mobile/ktn/watch/2000065833/eco-journal-plastic-waste-management

You can do the same. Even if you do not make plastic poles, you can make other products as explained in this blog. You cant afford to admire waste littered all over and only complain. Please take up the challenge. There is a lot of wealth lying out there, for free, branded as waste. Make wealth from waste.

Green money everywhere, lessons from Nakuru

US dollar

Have you ever got disturbed seeing many young people idling in urban centres doing nothing? From morning to evening, these young people engage in worthless dialogue, justifying their idling to unemployment. What is left for them to do is to spy on anybody passing by, discuss them, and plan evil things in case the passer by is seen to be progressing well. Many of these idle youth have gotten into taking drugs, robbery and other social evils.

Yet within the vicinity, are heaps of litter disposed irresponsibly making the place dirty. The public add onto this waste daily and hence heaps get bigger and bigger. To the eyes of the public, the county government and NEMA are expected to intervene, collect and dispose the waste. In other words the role of the public is to litter while government agencies should clean up the mess.

In Nakuru County, a 41 year old widow has come forward to demonstrate that garbage is green money. For more information, visit this link http://www.nation.co.ke/business/enterprise/Entrepreneur-turns-Nakuru-dump-site-into-a-money-maker/-/1954166/2154234/-/wa85cdz/-/index.html

This venture enabled her to employ 26 people, pay school fees for her six children besides settling other bills. She could be one of the budding millionaires in Kenya. Its interesting to learn how her business started small and grew into a big enterprise that owns compressing and grinding machines. When I read her story, I did not get the impression that she is one of the very educated Kenyans. I may be wrong but thats my opinion.

In my earlier story, I indicated that China is a big market for plastic products which they use to make clothing, among other items. See this link https://ayubmacharia.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/china-needs-waste-plastic-bottles-to-make-polyester-clothing/

This lady from Nakuru sells 14 tonnes of plastic waste to a Chinese company. This waste comes from only one site, Gioto dumpsite. Other sites have similar opportunities which have not been tapped.

This story from Nakuru should be shared widely and unemployed youths encouraged to venture into similar enterprises. Why should they sit there lamenting about unemployment while they are educated and the government has given out Uwezo fund, CDF and other county funds which could be used as startup for these kind of enterprise? Some of the youths are well educated and can start ventures that go beyond this Nakuru case study.

All major urban centres have dumpsites and hence can offer similar opportunities to the youth. According to the State of Environment (SOE) Report of 2011 by NEMA, Nairobi city generates 2,400 tonnes of waste daily whereby an average Nairobi resident generates 245Kgs of solid waste annually. However, only 60% of this waste is collected and the rest is left to rot and litter the city causing environmental degradation and health hazards. The situation is not any better in other towns. The SOE Report 2011 states that small urban centres have almost no waste collection services.

Hey, lets learn from Nakuru and do something in our neighborhood. There is a lot of waste lying out there, which can be exploited to make green money. In the process we can create jobs for many youths and help promote green sustainable economic growth.

References

Chebet, C. (2014, January 21) Entrepreneur tuns Nakuru dumpsite into a money maker. Daily Nation. Retrieved from http://www.nation.co.ke/business/enterprise/Entrepreneur-turns-Nakuru-dump-site-into-a-money-maker/-/1954166/2154234/-/wa85cdz/-/index.html

NEMA (2012) State of Environment Report 2011. NEMA, Nairobi

Freefoto.com

 

 

Since petrol is expensive, try an electric car

Image

It is fashionable to own a car especially among the middle and upper class citizens. The taste has changed further to an extent that many families have more than one car. With multiple vehicles, members of the family have invested in eliminating any inconveniences that may hinder them from achieving their daily targets. With convenient transport, one can comfortably reach many places in a day. However, this convenience come with a cost. The price of petrol has been increasing steadily over the years. The budget for commuting has been on the rise and this makes some people to use public transport sometimes, experiencing the inconveniences that go with this mode.

It is appreciable that families are ready to invest in buying the hardware, the only challenge being the recurrent costs of running a vehicle. There is a solution available now which you can consider, namely the electric car. These cars are now available in the market. They do not use petroleum, have simpler mechanical systems, do not pollute (noise and air) the environment and are cheap to run. If you own one, you will save thousands of shillings every month. You will be richer and perhaps happier.

If you analyze how most people use their cars, there is a section of the population that use them minimally. They drive it to their place of work, pack it and only use it again in the evening to go home. Since this car only requires to be charged using electric power, Its easy to organize for this battery charging at home and at the place of work. Of course this is cheaper than using petroleum.

As you consider buying your next car, explore the option of buying an electric car. Save the recurrent costs of petroleum, and promote a clean and healthy environment.

For more information on the benefits of owning an electric car, read this link  http://blog.enn.com/?p=3929

 

China needs waste plastic bottles to make Polyester clothing

Our environment is littered with millions of plastic bottles. This observation therefore implies that we have in the process littered our environment with money. Why should we complain of poverty and unemployment while an opportunity exists to get rich from discarded plastic bottles? Why should we have our youth loitering and complaining of lack of basic needs while an enormous opportunity exists, with free plastic waste littering our environment.

Technology exists in China to make polyester cloth from plastic bottles. All they need from us is shredded bottles of the right quality. They are ready to buy the shredded pieces in huge quantities. Someone needs to exploit this opportunity

The African governments have closer ties with China. The balance of trade between China and Kenya is skewed to the former’s advantage. It is easy to negotiate a deal whereby Kenya exports the plastic shreds to China (since we do not have the polyester making technology). This provides an option for Kenyan entrepreneurs in case the other uses for recycled plastics yield less profits. It is advisable explore many options as all could lead to employment of our people as well as cleaning our environment.

Plastic bottles when left to litter our environment makes it dirty, blocks our drainage systems especially in urban areas causing flooding. Other negative aspects of plastics litter is that some people burn it and in the process emit smoke with carcinogenic substances, which can make our people sick. In addition, discarded plastics form breeding grounds for disease causing organisms such as rodents, cockroaches, mosquitoes and flies. All these negative aspects of plastic waste currently dominate in our country and makes the country lose a lot of money in terms of drugs, fixing the drains and collecting the garbage. This predicament could be avoided if people embrace collection and recycling of these bottles.

One does not need to wait till you have enough money to buy a shredder machine. There are many Kenyans who have these shredding machines but lack adequate raw materials to keep their machinery busy. So, if you are a young entrepreneur and wants to start recycling, don’t hesitate. There are licensed recyclers near you who can buy your collection of plastic bottles. You can enquire about these recyclers from the nearest office of the National Environment Authority at the county level.

Hence, embrace a millionaire mindset, collect the plastic bottles, sell them and make money.

 

For more information, see this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyF9MxlcItw

 

© Ayub Macharia, April 2014

Get yourself a share of the 14 billion pencils market, and help clean the environment

I am sure you have not forgotten your youthful years when you were in lower formative classes. In particular, can you recall what you used to write with? I mean, the pencil? Many of the lower classes are compelled to use pencils in writing. The higher classes and adults out of school also use pencils to draw and write in some instances.

With the users mentioned above, consider the size of the market for pencils. Globally, more than 14 billion pencils are used every year. This is therefore a good business opportunity.

Consider what makes a pencil. The common raw materials are wood and graphite rod at the centre. Consider the number of trees cut to make the pencils. Many trees indeed are used and this could lead to deforestation. If the rate of deforestation exceeds replenishing, this could lead to environmental degradation and will make us lose all the unique benefits we get from trees.

Hence the need to look for alternatives that promote sustainable development. Technology exists that makes use of solid waste such as old newspapers to make pencils. Besides newspapers, other paper related waste could be used. Pencils made from waste paper are commonly referred to as eco-pencils.

Hence a business opportunity exists. Those with a millionaire mindset can see that there is a lot of waste paper left to rot in our environment, making it dirty, blocking our drains and creating habitats for disease causing organisms such as rats, cockroaches, flies and worms. Help to clean our environment by making sure no waste paper gets into the environment, but is used to improve our livelihood. Help the government to save foreign exchange through avoidance of importing pencils while we have plenty of raw materials in our environment.

Some entrepreneurs collect the old waste paper and using cheap machinery make eco-pencils. In their own words, demand for pencils locally and regionally is huge. With a millionaire mindset, why not tap into this gap.

For more information see a video on how to make eco-pencils here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to5R6LivqRU

© Ayub Macharia, April 2014

A worn out sole is a business opportunity for someone

Mr Stephen Kihoro started a home-based recycling facility at Kariobangi. He was brought up in a poor background and surrounding. Everywhere was surrounded with garbage.  He used to visit the vast Dandora dumpsite and saw the plenty of polythene materials disposed there. He considered this as a business opportunity.

Kihoro was employed as a technician at an Indian firm for 8 years but did not feel satisfied. Hence one day he decided to do what his heart liked, invest in solid waste value addition. The source of raw material is the vast dumpsite in his locality.

He got a loan of KES 100,000 from a Microfinance institution and bought a few machines to heat the plastics and compress them to various shapes. Then he gained courage and started a recycling facility at Kariobangi light industries region.

Mr Kihoro collects industrial waste, plastics and electric wire coatings of varying colors. These materials are readily available from the dumpsites. He chopped these into smaller chips, which he stored in sacks for easier storage. These chips could easily fit in his boiler. He heats them up in the boiler and adds some water to make paste. With plastic paste, he is ready to mould end products of diverse shapes and colors.

He uses specially designed metal to develop different shapes of the plastic end products. He then puts the plastic paste between the two pieces of specially designed metal bars and press them to produce different products such as

  1. Washers used for construction in flower farms or roofs to prevent water leakage
  2. Shoe soles
  3. Plates
  4. Cups
  5. Spoons

He has managed to employ many young people directly as his workers and indirectly to collect the plastics and sell them to his factory. Some other people earn a living through marketing Kihoro’s products.

With a millionaire mindset, you can tap into the many opportunities provided by solid waste.

For more information watch Kihoro’s movie on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaXoT53O6V0

 

© Ayub Macharia, April 2014