Kenyan makes paving blocks out of plastic waste


The entrepreneur has recycled 20 tonnes of plastic since 2017.

A Kenyan woman is making paving blocks, paving tiles, and manhole covers using plastic waste that cannot be recycled.

Nzambi Matee, founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, claims the construction materials made from recycled plastic are extremely strong and durable.

“Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete,” Matee told Reuters.

Gjenge Makers

The materials engineer set up her factory after she got tired of waiting for the government to solve the plastic pollution problem.

Matee, who even designed her own machines, sources the plastic waste from packaging factories and other recyclers and uses it to make the construction materials.

“There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” she says while pointing out to sacks of plastic waste.

The plastic waste is mixed with sand, heated, and then compressed into bricks. According to Matee, the polymerase or threadlike nature of plastic binds well making the product strong and unbreakable.

Only 9% is recycled

According to Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya produces 600000 tonnes of plastic bottles annually, of which 400000 tonnes are used locally and only 9% is recycled.

Matee’s factory produces 1,500 bricks each day and has recycled 20 tonnes of waste plastic since its founding in 2017.

Matee is now looking to increase the production line to make 4500 pavers a day and believes to break even by the end of this year.

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