A Kenyan Scientist, Hope Mwanake is making headlines with her ground-breaking initiative to manufacture durable roofing tyles from plastic and glass waste.
Kenyan Scientist making headlines with ground-breaking initiative
Flying the Kenyan flag high
Through her company, Eco Blocks and Tiles, the environmental scientist is cutting a niche in the construction industry, taking on giants and solving the world's pollution challenges.
Hope ran a waste collection service in Gilgil where she witnessed first-hand the mountains of plastic buckets, bottles and jerrycans and decided to something with the plastic waste.
"We wanted to do something with all this plastic waste, and after a lot of brainstorming, research and experimenting, we came up with a value-added product with market demand that would also help to reduce all this plastic in the environment." Hope said during an interview with international media house.
With Kenya producing more than three million tonnes of waste per year - of which only eight percent is recycled, the scientist-turned-entrepreneur Mwanake teamed up with a colleagues and fellow environmental scientist Kevin Mureithi to intervene, marking the birth of the company.
"We examined the properties of plastic and glass, and then we literally cooked empty shampoo and vegetable bottles in a big drum and mixed the molten polymer with sand crushed from glass waste. It looked like a strange porridge, but once placed in moulds and cooled, we found we had a very strong and durable product." said Mwanake.
So far, they have turned more than 56 tonnes of plastic waste into 75,000 tiles for 30 homes and businesses.
The tiles are more durable, lighter, and easier to transport and install than concrete or clay tiles. They are also safer for rainwater collection but are available at a similar cost.
Each tile is priced at 850 Kenyan shillings equivalent to the price of concrete or clay tiles.
With Kenya producing more than three million tonnes of waste per year - of which only eight percent is recycled - scientists-turned-entrepreneurs Mwanake and Mureithi felt something had to be done.
The ecotiles are also helping Kenya's booming construction industry cut its carbon emissions by providing more green and sustainable alternatives to concrete tiles.
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