Chinese plastic bottle recycling company Weeco says it has pumped Sh600 million to setup its second Kenya factory in Mombasa amid plans to expand its operations outside Nairobi.
The factory, expected to start operations in August, signals new jobs for about 500 locals in Changamwe.
It will collect and recycle plastic bottles into pellets which will later be converted into fibre and garments for sale in Kenya and other markets such as China, the US and Europe.
“We are setting up another plant in at the Special Economic Zone in Mombasa which has all the necessary infrastructure to support local manufacturing at $6 million,” General Manager Wang Gong Bo said yesterday.
The plant, which will sit on a 10,000 square metre piece land, is also part of promoting the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative that is a centrepiece of the Asian country’s foreign policy.
Weeco says its factory in Athi River’s Special Economic Zone is currently able to recycle between 1,000 to 5,000 plastic bottles per month.
The plant has been exporting pellets extracted from plastic bottles to its parent company in China for the manufacture of polyester clothing fibre.
The Mombasa plant will initially produce over 5,000 tonnes of plastic bottles per month, which is expected to double in the next year once production capacity is increased.
The firm says its growth plans will help Kenya achieve the goal of expanding its manufacturing base, which contributes about 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
“We have entered into the Kenyan market to provide a lasting solution to the challenge posed by post-consumer PET bottles. In addition, we will provide employment opportunities, revenue for the exchequer and improve the standards of living for the collectors who will be supplying to us,” Mr Bo said.