- Taka Taka ni Mali lead patron Mary Ngechu said they seek to show collectors how they can be able to sell waste and earn from the recyclables.
- It also seeks to showcase the roles played by different ecosystem enablers in sustainability.
Taka Taka ni Mali, a non-profit organisation, has launched its knowledge centre and app that seeks to empower individuals at the bottom of the pyramid to tap resources from waste.
The organisation will train MSMEs, ecosystem enablers and CBOs on environmental, social, governance management and the circular economy and aid in waste separation and collection.
Taka Taka ni Mali lead Mary Ngechu said they seek to show collectors how they can be able to sell waste and earn from the recyclables.
“We organise them in different groups of community based organisations (CBOs) where we train them on sorting and separation of waste,” Ngechu said.
“We then link them to waste aggregators so that they can compile waste in volumes enough to attract recyclers.”
She said the aggregators are linked to recyclers who buy the waste that is in turn used as an input raw material for their production.
“So far we have 35 aggregators and over 1,000 collectors in Kajiado county,” she said.
Taka Taka ni Mali also seeks to showcase the roles played by different ecosystem enablers in sustainability.
Ngechu said they partnered with Global Compact Network Kenya to standardise the conversation around circular waste management and their training programmes for MSMEs.
“We are training them so that they can embrace sustainable practices that will enable them unlock into opportunities of finances.”
Taka Taka ni Mali also launched a mobile app that will put together the ecosystem for waste management.
“Businesses will be able to utilise the app to get data which will allow enterprises access green financing,” Ngechu said.
The app has been successfully piloted in Kajiado and is yet to be in circulation in other parts of the country.
“We are looking at how we can scale this model outside Kajiado to all parts of the country,” she said.
“It is necessary for us to map and zone locations and then we onboard the collectors and aggregators that will enable them utilise the digital platform.”
Ngechu said their ideal circular economy model of linking collectors to aggregators and aggregators to recyclers has worked in Kajiado.
“It is necessary that we capacity build and zone so that when we bring on board collectors and aggregators, this provides them with the opportunity of knowing how to separate and waste and utilise the app,” she said.
Taka Taka ni Mali is hopeful that they will be able to reach 15 counties by next year.
During the launch, experts from different sectors in the climate ecosystem said environmental sustainability and circular economy concerns continue to be treated as side issues despite being a central development agenda.
If not addressed, this affects the future of the environment as a result of climate change.
Kenya generates an estimated 22,000 tonnes of waste per day.
It is estimated that 40 per cent of the waste is generated in urban areas.
Given that urbanisation is increasing by 10 per cent, by 2030, the urban population will be generating an estimate of about 5.5 million tonnes of waste every year.
Past reports estimate that 60 per cent to 70 per cent of waste generated is organic, 20 per cent plastic, 10 per cent paper, one per cent medical waste and two per cent metal.
Unfortunately, most waste is mixed together and taken to dumpsites or left uncollected polluting the environment.
Human beings are at climatic crossroads with the increasing pattern of global warming orchestrated by our actions toward the environment.
Today consumer behaviour is considered one of the causes in the amount of waste produced in the circular economy.
The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.
Kenya Pet Recycling Company country manager Joyce Gachugi said consumer behaviour influences production as people are interested in ‘on the go’ type of consumable plastics.
Speaking during the Taka Taka ni Mali launch, Gachugi said most people prefer consuming clean bottled water because not many get access to water filters.
“In this way, the size of packaging for different materials has been reduced. This is driven by the element of cost driving the kadogo economy seeking to meet demand,” she said.
Gachugi added that this influences circularity in terms of the collection as more material is being pumped into the environment.
“When we go to an event, everyone is served their own bottle of water. This is because consumer behaviour dictates that each must have their own bottle of water,” she said.
“This results in more waste going to the land fields.”
Packaging material being produced in the market now is aimed at meeting customer satisfaction.
“Most of the packaging aimed at making the consumer comfortable is not ideally recyclable or collectible hence possess a challenge to circularity,” Gachugi said.
“This means that we need to mobilise more capital to put into the value chain in order to recover this material to keep it in the circular economy.”
Speaking during the launch, Kenya Association of Manufacturers regulatory and compliance lead Georgina Wachuka said the national sustainable waste management policy passed in 2021 was industry driven to protect the manufacturing space.
“Everyone who looks at the garbage in their houses sees the producer and not the consumer of the product. They fail to see how it was consumed and disposed of,” Wachuka said.
She also said the policy made sure that manufacturers did their business and protected the environment as well as consumers played their part in consuming and disposing of waste.
“Everyone is playing a role in the Extended Producer Responsibility regulations as it was developed inclusive of producers, importers, consumers, national and county governments,” she said.
Technology also plays a crucial role in circular waste management.
According to the UN 2019 report, 51 million tonnes of electronic waste was produced globally with 20 per cent being recycled.
Safaricom’s climate and environment lead Valentine Cheruiyot said electronic waste is considered the most hazardous yet fast-growing stream of waste globally.
It is projected by 2050 there will be 120 million tonnes of electronic waste.
“Waste management is a business opportunity as it gives us an opportunity to innovate solutions that can help us create efficiencies around waste management,” Cheruiyot said.
She said through technology, there is an opportunity to digitise processes and services to aid in the sustainability of the circular economy.
She said that digitising waste data in real-time enables one to make timely decisions.
“With 5G now rolled out, there is an aspect of IoT and AI that is crucial in the circular economy,” Cheruiyot said.
“We have partnered with water management agencies, for example, to test these technologies and we have been able to detect water leakages.”
Technology enables CBOs and micro-enterprises to develop reports for data, transparency and traceability, to showcase their sustainability.
It also enables them to transact and gain access to green climate financing.
Global Systems for Mobile Association insights manager climate-tech Judith Mulwa said mobile and digital technology are key to the success and delivery of green financing.
Mulwa said with financing, precise data is required which can be achieved with the use of IoT such as sensors to collect data.
She also said Kenya lacks a common ground and methodology when it comes to the type of data to be used.
“We lack data and if it is there then it is very disoriented as it is all over the place. Everyone comes up with their own format and it is very bespoke to sectors, Mulwa said.
“We need to merge these methodologies to become combined as data is core in decision making.”
Commercial and investment banks have also come in to support MSMEs through green climate financing.
This is where banks offer finances to projects and businesses that engage in activities that are eco-friendly, those that promote reuse and recycling, efficiency, and those that consider a sustainable environment in their operations.
According to KCB JKIA branch manager Velingtone Abong’o, banks focus majorly on MSMEs.
Abong’o also said businesses that qualify for the green climate financing pool must meet some requirements.
He said businesses must speak to the sustenance of the ecosystem.
“Banks offer finances to projects and businesses that engage in activities that are eco-friendly, those that promote reuse and recycle, efficiency, and those that consider a sustainable environment in their operations,” Abong’o said.
“Clients who speak to the green agenda will get financing at lower rates and some of the conditions attached to green financing are reduced.”
He said this encourages enterprises to go green to allow cheaper financing for MSMEs.