ChildFund, Dow kick off campaign on plastic waste management

Cyrille-Lazare Siewe
Cyrille-Lazare Siewe, Coordinator, UN Environment Kenya Country Programme and Howard Ungerleider, Chief Financial Officer and President of Dow Inc. during a roundtable to discuss circular economy. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The Dow Chemical Company has partnered with ChildFund, an international NGO that works with children to inculcate the culture of environmental conservation especially on recycling plastics.

Through Dow’s initiative for promoting good waste management infrastructure and recycling education, dubbed Project Butterfly, Dow has partnered with ChildFund Kenya, to educate and inspire children to be future change agents.

The program which kicked off last year in Mukuru informal settlement, culminated in a cleanup exercise in Kasarani Sub County.Dow and ChildFund joined over 800 volunteers to participate in a ‘community clean-up’ in the Kasarani district.

The team also visited an innovative recycling facility, Mr. Green Africa, to see how it is pioneering plastic recovery and recycling in Nairobi.

Marco Ten Bruggencate, Dow’s Commercial Vice President Packaging & Specialty Plastics EMEA at Dow said, “Africa is a dynamic part of the world, and we are delighted to have the privilege to operate here. However, with an extra 3 billion people predicted to live here in the next 30 years, the waste footprint will also increase on a massive scale.”

Bruggencate added the Project Butterfly initiative is just one of the social impact projects Dow has launched to ensure it is part of the clean-up and waste collection, sorting and recycling systems, with a goal to continue doing business in Africa, and benefit the environment, the local economy and communities.

“Dow believes plastic is too valuable a resource to be thrown away or lost to landfill and is working to ensure a circular economy for plastics globally. In doing so, we can move towards a world in which the practical and social benefits of plastic are matched by its environmental performance,” he said.

The Project Butterfly™ initiative, was launched in October 2017 in Tembisa, South Africa. It was inspired by the idea that transformation is always possible, and that with support and imagination something ordinary, dull, or even unpleasant – like plastic waste – can be transformed into something beautiful and valuable.

The initiative which has been working with ChildFund for the last two years is already making inroads into tackling poor waste management in their areas, through a series of education campaigns, clean ups and local expos.

In partnership with companies, government agencies and local NGOs, Dow is bridging the gap between recycling buy-back centres, sorting facilitators, collectors and recyclers. So far, we have ran Project Butterfly in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Algeria and Ethiopia.

ChildFund Kenya Country Director Chege Ngugi, said the program aligns well within his organization’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs including theMazingira bora project in Mukuru informal settlement.

The project which being implemented in Mukuru and Kasarani and aims at improving waste management and hygiene practices. Ngugi said through similar collaborations between the private and public sector, Kenya is likely to make great strides in curbing the waste menace in the country.

Speaking during the same event, Phyllis Wakiaga, CEO, Kenya Association of Manufacturers said the plastics value chain in Kenya is working collaboratively to find ways of enhancing the circularity of the plastic material.

Nairobi is reported to produce about 3,000 tonnes of solid waste daily in the city, but only about 1,500 tonnes is collected and deposited in Dandora dumping site.