Mombasa Plastics Prize Showcases Green Enterprises on Plastic Free Day

In a bold move to address the pressing issue of marine plastic waste, the Mombasa Plastics Prize Incubator (MPP), an initiative funded by USAID and delivered by Challenge Works, has been supporting nine youth-led businesses in transforming their innovative prototypes into sustainable enterprises. These efforts align with the global observance of International Plastic Free Day, celebrated on the 15th of May.

The event, themed ‘MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase: The Evolution,’ marked the culmination of a rigorous nine-month incubation period. Since October 2023, these start-ups have been nurtured to develop the skills necessary to launch green businesses aimed at mitigating Mombasa County’s pervasive plastic waste problem. With an estimated 120 metric tons of plastic waste generated daily in the county, this initiative is both timely and critical.

Anna Ghnouly from USAID Kenya’s Environment Office highlighted the significance of this endeavor stressing that it underscores the agency’s recognition of the transformative power of community-driven action in addressing complex global challenges.

USAID’s commitment to initiatives like the Mombasa Plastics Prize reflects its dedication to fostering sustainable development and empowering future generations. Our investment of over $2 million has helped nearly double the amount of plastic collected and recycled nationwide over the past ten years,” said Anna.

The nine enterprises participating in the MPP have collectively set a new standard for sustainable development in the region, having collected over 23 tonnes of waste and created 545 green jobs. Here are the innovative start-ups making a difference:

  1. Capapo Solutions: Produces sustainable building materials stronger than concrete from recycled plastic, including Eco-poles, cabro blocks, and panels. They have partnerships with local schools to upcycle up to 1.3 tonnes of plastic waste.
  2. Clean Tech Collectors: Enhances waste management efficiency through a pioneering app and provides collectors with essential tools and training.
  3. Eco-Prints Generation: Creates eco-friendly 3D printer filaments from recycled plastics, educates 400 students on recycling, and has collected over 200 kg of plastic to combat marine pollution.
  4. Furies Enterprise: Raises awareness about marine plastic waste through a unique board game, Bahari Ya Ninja, creating employment opportunities, especially for women, with over 85 games sold.
  5. Oceania Pacesetter: Repurposes over 200 kg of plastics into artistic and functional items while actively engaging the community on marine pollution issues.
  6. Plas-Tech: Converts plastic waste into clean cooking gas, having collected over 300 kg of plastic with plans for expansion and technological advancements. 
  7. Plastic Taka Creatives: Repurposes 5 tonnes of plastic into eco-friendly yarns and baskets, aiming to generate over 500 jobs annually through a novel buyback recycling system.
  8. Rafiki Peps: Improves waste management with a focus on community education and segregated collection systems, enhancing efficiency through local partnerships.
  9. Twende Green Ecocycle: Transforms over 2.3 tonnes of oceanic plastic into high-quality, customizable furniture, aiming to create 30 jobs within the next five years
Mombasa Plastics prize
Dr. Mbwarali Kame, CECM Education, Mombasa County pledged to support the youth-led enterprises to scale their businesses across Mombasa County, during Mombasa Plastics MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase at Sarova Whitesands.

Deputy Governor H.E. Francis Foleni Thoya commended the achievements of the young entrepreneurs pointing out that their commitment to green entrepreneurship alleviates unemployment and is a big leap toward shaping a sustainable future.

The transformative outcomes we are witnessing today are a testament to the hard work and innovation of the youth in Mombasa. The Mombasa County is looking forward to building on the legacy of the Mombasa Plastics Prize through supporting future related initiatives,” said H.E Francis.

The MPP Incubator not only tackles marine plastic pollution but also catalyzes supporting local initiatives that create green jobs, addressing youth unemployment and environmental protection. A recent study by ANDE indicates that environmentally friendly ventures represent untapped market potential valued at $122.7 billion across Kenya.

Leading up to yesterday’s celebration, key activities such as the Zero Waste Fest and the Green Jobs Summit were held, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the MPP Incubator enterprises, government entities, ecosystem players, and the local community.

Supported by a multi-sectoral partnership approach, including USAID, the Mombasa County Government, and other key stakeholders, the MPP Incubator is set to inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs. For those interested in joining this movement, now is the time to get involved.

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