KENYA: Unilever introduces 100% recyclable plastic packaging in East Africa

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KENYA: Unilever introduces 100% recyclable plastic packaging in East Africa©MR.Yanukitde Shutterstock

The Dutch-British multinational Unilever has recently launched its first plastic packaging made from 100% recycled flexible materials in Nairobi, Kenya. Thousands of tonnes of virgin plastics will be reduced each year in Africa as a result of this initiative.

The scouring powder “Sunlight” is Unilever’s first product with fully recyclable packaging so far in Kenya. The new packaging has been presented to the public a few days ago in Nairobi by the Dutch-British multinational. The company’s new packaging, including that of the “sunlight” cleaning product, weighs 500 grams and 1 kilogram respectively. They will be marketed in Kenya and the rest of the East African sub-region.

The “sunlight” project is part of the “U-turn waste management project” launched by Unilever in 2018 in Kenya. It was developed in collaboration with waste management service provider Green Africa Trading. “It is an important step in demonstrating that it is possible to create a sustainable, inclusive, traceable and fair circular economy for plastics in emerging markets. Kenya is leading the way in thinking about this issue,” says Keiran Smith, co-founder and CEO of Green Trading Africa.

The multinational Unilever hopes to reduce its use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes by 2025. The company also wants to use at least 25 per cent recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025. This would reduce the environmental pollution associated with non-biodegradable plastics.

Apart from the “U-turn waste management project”, several other sub-projects related to waste recycling have been carried out in Africa by the multinational Unilever. One such project is the “Zero Waste to Landfill” project.

The importance of the “Zero Waste to Landfill” project

According to the Nairobi County Government, the Kenyan capital produces about 2,500 tonnes of waste per day, of which about 60 per cent is collected and only 10 per cent is recycled. In order to increase the amount of waste recycled in Nairobi and throughout the country, Unilever launched the Zero Waste to Landfill project a few years ago. It has reportedly resulted in “significant” waste disposal in the city and across Kenya. It also created 70 jobs for young Kenyans and gave 1,700 collectors the opportunity to emerge in the changing recycling sector.

Inès Magoum

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