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Unilever signs up 140 primary schools for plastic recycling

Keiran Smith
Keiran Smith, CEO of Mr Green Africa. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Consumer goods maker Unilever East Africa has tapped 140 primary schools to collect plastic wastes for Nairobi-based firm that will recycle them and manufacture products such as buckets and water tanks.

This will increase the collection centres under the Unilever recycling partnership with the firm known as Mr Green Africa to 212, including 25 that are not schools.

Unilever says the venture will cut pollution and boost Kenya’s recycling business as part of its global plan to make the plastic it uses recyclable or reusable by 2025.

M Green Africa uses waste to manufacture products such as buckets and water tanks while Unilever’s products like Blue Band and Vaseline are packaged in plastics.

“We are increasing the number by 140 schools that will act as both collection centres and help create awareness on the U-turn initiative. We are setting aside Sh4million for the programme,” Unilever Sustainable Business and Corporate Affairs director Joseph Sunday said.

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Unilever’s investment in the plant will increase to Sh34 million following the Sh30million it injected into Mr Green Africa last year to increase collection centres and also employ more garbage collectors.

Under the Unilever deal, Mr Green Africa currently gets between 100 to 150 kilos of plastics per day from the 25 collection centres spread across Nairobi.

Currently, there are slightly above 2,000 people contracted by Mr Green Africa factory with each getting Sh19 for every kilo of plastics delivered at the firm’s factory off Enterprise Road.

“We are still looking at Mombasa and Kisumu but we will identify where we are going in the next three months. The schools have however increased by about 147 and will act as awareness and collection centres,” said Keiran Smith, CEO of Mr Green Africa.

The people gathering plastic waste will be key to Unilever meeting its target of collecting and recycling a large share of its packaging materials.

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