(Nairobi, Kenya, March 8th, 2024): In a significant move towards environmental responsibility, leading plastic producers and users in Kenya, including Bidco Africa, Line Plast Group, Bio Food Products Ltd, Silafrica, and Taka Taka Solutions, have joined forces to commit to re-designing and producing more sustainable and recyclable packaging.

This is under the stewardship of the Kenya Plastics Pact (KPP), a voluntary initiative working to create a circular economy for plastic packaging, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Kenya), whose mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

Plastic pollution has become a global concern, and in Kenya, we are proactively mobilizing key stakeholders within the plastics value chain to address the barriers to circularity through public-private collaborations,” says Karin Boomsma, the Project Director at the Kenya Plastics Pact Secretariat.

Boomsma says this necessitated creating the #LetsBeClear Innovation Challenge in collaboration with WWF-Kenya and the producers. The objective is to transition colored plastic packaging to clear PET and eliminate problematic additives from HDPE bottles and jars that make recycling difficult. Collective consumer awareness campaigns to drive positive consumer behavior are also expected outcomes of this initiative.

Alex Kubasu, the Program Manager of the Circular Economy Initiative at WWF-Kenya, has commended the commitments made by the companies in the initial phase of the groundbreaking Innovation Challenge, stating that this will go a long way in addressing the environmental challenges posed by plastic waste by increasing material recyclability.

“This collaborative effort marks a pivotal moment in the fight against plastic pollution. It aligns with national and global initiatives promoting the principles of circularity in plastic packaging, including the EPR and Global Plastics Treaty, that promote better product design to reduce plastic use and improve recycling. We will fully support the initiative at WWF-Kenya, as it accentuates our national and global efforts to drive innovation in fighting plastic pollution,” says Kubasu.

Overall, the Innovation Challenge is a crucial step towards achieving the Kenya Plastics Pact Roadmap, which ensures 100% of plastic packaging is reusable and recyclable, and 40% is effectively recycled by 2030. Currently, plastic recycling rates in the country are reported to be about 10%.

It also forms an important platform where plastic producers begin to build their capacity to fully comply with the mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements stipulated in the Sustainable Waste Management Act of 2022.

The Commitments from Plastic Packaging Producers in Kenya

Bio Foods, a leading processor and marketer of premium dairy products, has committed to adopting rPET by 50% by 2026. “We’re moving our translucent PET to clear, which is more recyclable because it’s lighter and has fewer problematic additives, per the Kenya Plastics Pact Design Guidelines for Recyclability. We’re also excited to collaborate with like-minded producers to collectively achieve the vision of sustainable plastic packaging in Kenya,” says Rosalid Rwaru, Head of Sustainability at Bio Foods.

Similarly, fast-moving consumer goods manufacturer Bidco Africa is taking auxiliary steps by eliminating the color from one of its beverage SKUs in the future, underscoring the company’s dedication to innovation and responsible manufacturing practices. “Further, in our leading Planet Aqua water, we’ve taken a bold step in removing the security cap seal, which has so far successfully contributed to reducing about one metric ton of unnecessary plastic from the value chain,” underscores Tushar Mehta, Chief Value Stream Leader, Beverages and Snacks at Bidco Africa.

Plastic packaging company Silafrica currently has 90% recyclable content and is committed to reaching 100% recyclability in the next two years. “By 2025, we will make all our packaging 100% recyclable, in line with the Kenya Plastics Pact targets for 2030,” says Ravi Muthu, CEO of Silafrica. 

On the same note, Line Plast Group, which produces packaging solutions, will change HDPE printing to labeling (water-based) by 80% and convert from tinted PET bottles to clear PET by 2025. “We understand that achieving this commitment requires that we work closely with our clients, and we therefore also commit to actively creating awareness among our customers to convert them to conscious plastic consumers,” notes Rajini Sankar Thirumalai Swami, the COO of Line Plast Group.

Takataka Solutions, a Nairobi-based recycler, has emphasized the role of awareness creation. “We’re committing to create enough awareness so that all material produced reaches us and does not become plastic pollution,” says Brian Sagala, Head of Marketing and Customer Relations at TakaTaka Solution.

These commitments reflect the individual companies’ willingness to minimize environmental impact throughout their products’ lifecycle. They are also pegged on the KPP Design Guidelines for Recyclability, which aim to provide clear recommendations to decision-makers on designing plastic packaging to be compatible with current (and future projections of) mechanical recycling infrastructure.

This initiative reflects the industry’s proactive stance toward addressing environmental challenges and aligns with Kenya’s commitment to sustainable development goals. WWF-Kenya and the Kenya Plastics Pact are optimistic that this collaborative effort will serve as a model for other industries and encourage a broader shift towards environmentally responsible practices in the plastics value chain.

Here is the #LetsBeClearInnovationChallenge video summary: Listen to each participating organization mention their commitment to the initiative.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Josephine Wawira, Kenya Plastics Pact Secretariat: josphine@sustainableinclusivebusiness.org  

Joel Muinde, WWF-Kenya: jmuinde@wwfkenya.org

View the full commitments here: https://youtu.be/NEzWDndbqyk

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