Plastic bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And they serve a variety of purposes. But once they have served their purpose, plastic bottles typically end up discarded on the street, in Kenya’s forests, on Kenya’s beaches or in landfills.
Regardless of the destination, plastic bottles are rarely repurposed but instead end up contributing to the growing mounds of environmental pollution in Kenya.
Weeco, a Chinese company, is trying to do something about that.The company, in partnership with Kenya’s PET Recycling company, is now recycling 4000 tonnes of plastic bottle waste.Joyce Gichugi, Kenya’s PETCO Country Manager, explains how the partnership came together.
‘”We did our due diligence and we were able to ascertain that we can get into a long partnership. In April 2019 we contacted Weeco for 2500 tonnes and we have extended the contract this month of September and added 1500 tonnes”
Weeco’s chairman, Wang Zhangyin, says his recycling company has created thousands of jobs in Kenya and that plastic pellets his company produces are exported to Weeco’s parent company in China to make polyester fiber.
“Weeco Company’s primary business is the processing of renewable materials with an eye towards environmental protection and reducing pollution from plastics’’ Mr. Wang says.The plastics are not only collected in Nairobi but also from across the country.In addition to the plant in Athi River town, in eastern Kenya, Weeco will set up another one in Mombasa in the coastal region.
“In order to advance our plastic processing capacity, our company has invested 6,000,000 USD in a new Mombasa facility. Moreover, we have also taken steps to import ten high-level manufacturing lines for plastic products. The newly imported manufacturing lines we expect to be able to raise our plastic processing capacity to 3,000 tons per month”, says Wang.
The WEECO-Petco partnership has advanced Sino-Kenya relations by also observing corporate social responsibility.
“What we like about Weeco is they are not only sitting at the factory waiting for the bottles but they are also going with us down to the dumpsite. We have also started a programme in some schools where we focus on consumer awareness and make donations of books to schools that are collecting bottles for us, and this is good partnership because as they grow we are also growing’’, says Joyce GGichugi.