Unsplash | Hermes Rivera

Nairobi Woman Transforms Plastic Waste Into Bricks For Her City

Plastic waste is a worldwide problem. Even with recycling efforts, so much of it still ends up being dumped into landfill sites, contributing to massive scales of toxic emissions.

Specifically in Africa, Kenya's capital city Nairobi generates 500 metric tons of plastic waste every single day, only a fraction of which is recycled.

Because of this, Nzambi Matee, A Nairobi woman, decided it was up to her to make a change.

She decided it was time for a change.

Tired of seeing plastic waste line the streets and shores of marginalized communities, Matee decided to launch her own business, "jump[ing] off a cliff without even a parachute".

Saying she was "tired of being on the sidelines of seeing plastic", Matee formed the company Gjenge Makers.

Gjenge Makers produces around 1,500 plastic pavers a day.

Developing a process to turn plastic waste into building products, Gjenge Makers focuses on making sustainable, affordable construction materials, promoting a recycling culture around the world.

Making approximately 1,500 plastic pavers every day, Gjenge Makers strives to do their part to help house the hundreds of Nairobi citizens in need of shelter.

The bricks are made from compressed plastic and sand.

Using a process called pelletizing, plastic waste is collected, cleaned, crushed, and turned into pellets. They are then mixed with sand, heated, and compressed to form the incredibly strong brick slabs known as plastic pavers.

Recently receiving funding to expand the business, Matee dreams to grow the company further, developing more machinery and mentorship opportunities around the country.

Matee inspires others to do their part and "act for nature".

Only 29 years old, Matee's admirable efforts rewarded her with the title of Africa's Young Champion of the Earth award in 2020.

Inspiring not only the city of Nairobi, Matee's story has also inspired the world with its promise, calling out to others to do their part to "act for nature" and help the planet.