Alice Moraa started by creating a small group of youths whom she paid some few cash for street sweeping, garbage collection and solid waste transportation to the landfill.
Sanitation services where solid waste management (SWM) ranks top has for a long time remained an overwhelming task to town managers thereby impairing their efforts to achieving sustainable urbanization. The situation for SWM is worse in small/sub-towns in Kenya including Kisii Town. Kisii County just like any other town lacks relevant and adequate capacity to deliver sustainable urbanization services therefore poor sanitation. She did it for more than two years. The small towns where she worked were clean but the landfill which is located almost in the Kisii Town Centre was heaped with so much waste, both biodegradable and non-biodegradable until the whole place was becoming a big mess and unconducive to the surrounding individuals. Moraa, the founder of Precious Plastic Kisii, started separating solid waste into different categories i.e. plastic, organic waste, paper and cardboards and glasses.
“I realized that plastic waste (non-biodegradable taking more than 500 years to break/decompose) was between 25-30% of the solid waste and was recyclable and this is how I came up with the idea to recycle plastic waste. This helps to conserve the environment for future generations,” says Moraa.
Moraa transports plastics to the recycling site. She starts by cleaning the plastics and lets them dry. Later, she sorts plastics into different types (Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), High Density Polyethylene, Poly Styrene, Low Density Poly Ethylene, Poly Propylene, Polyvinyl Chloride and the Mix which do not have labels. After sorting exercise, she chops off bigger plastic objects in a shredder machine into small flakes for easy storage and processing into final products. She then moves into machine section where she and her team ‘melts’ the plastics in the extrusion, compression and injection machines which makes lampshades and flower pots, bowls and tiles. She makes beautiful products which she later sells to her clients (international organizations, schools and churches, tourism operators and hoteliers). Moraa also sells PET flakes into plastic industries.
“After all the processes I ensure all products are up to good quality, well designed and ready to go into the market. I am selling the products and people love the products majorly because they are unique, high quality and made out of PURE PLASTIC WASTE.”
The clients are mostly international customers who pay higher amounts compared to the locals for the products. The revenue that is being collected pays for the expenses including paying for street sweeping, and the collection and transportation teams. Moraa is looking forward to expanding the plant, purchase heavy machines, open up more branches because currently, her greatest challenge is the high amount of plastics with 3 machines since households are excited and calling her to pick waste plastics.
“My team has been very supportive and hard working both in the field and at the site. Sometimes reaching out to the masses and creating awareness is expensive for me. Despite all these, conserving the environment, youth and women empowerment, job creation and developing the community gives me the motivation to wake up each day,” says Moraa.
Moraa has plans to expand the business, open up other branches in different towns and employ more youth.