Mr. Green Africa (MGA), a certified B-Corp company, creates a sustainable, long-term social, environmental, and economic impact through collecting, converting, and selling post-consumer plastic waste. Our technology-driven plastics collection model enables waste collection at the source, integrating informal waste workers, micro-entrepreneurs, and consumers into our formal value chain. Our business model allows the youth to earn a fair income.
Annually, 22 million metric tons of plastic waste are discarded in urban areas in Africa, with waste volumes growing. Only 5% of plastic waste is properly collected and recycled, resulting in 21 million metric tons leaking into the environment annually, negatively impacting people’s health and damaging ecosystems.
One of the major challenges in Kenya’s waste and recycling sector is that urban waste is collected by waste pickers – vulnerable individuals living on the fringes of urban societies. Waste pickers do their work without basic personal protective equipment (PPE), skills, or tools and face ever-changing, non-transparent prices, resulting in low incomes. They are frequently excluded from social, financial, and healthcare services. They do not have access to decent work conditions and earn below the minimum wage. These conditions are due to low value-chain efficiency, limited value-addition, and a lack of formal organisation by waste collectors and value chain stakeholders.
On top of this, Kenya’s labour market is not creating enough jobs to keep up with demand, especially after the COVID crisis. This is particularly felt among youth, of which 35% are either unemployed or underemployed. Most of the economic growth in Kenya is in the informal sector, which employs over 80% of the population. Women, and particularly young women, experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment compared to men. Therefore, the proposed project aims to generate decent long-term job and income opportunities, safer work conditions, and improved resilience for young Kenyans.
MGA’s integrated business model of inclusive sourcing of plastic waste, local manufacturing, and high-quality products creates long-term, decent and attractive jobs for young women and young men, while significantly reducing the environmental pollution. The proposed project aims to build a professional, fair and inclusive (plastic) recycling ecosystem in Kenya that offers decent employment and income opportunities to all, but especially women and youth. We strive to formalise the relationship with informal waste pickers, integrating them into a fair and remunerative value chain. We will also turn consumers into suppliers by integrating them in a reward-based system that creates a sustainable and scalable plastic collection supply chain. Moreover, MGA will be establishing partnerships with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and supply them with the products and services they need. Finally, MGA’s fast projected growth will lead to the creation of new jobs in its production process.
Through CFYE’s help, we will increase long-term, stable employment instead of casual wage positions. At the end of the project, MGA will have created or improved the work conditions and livelihoods of 2,535 young people, representing over 1,500 full-time equivalent jobs of which 50% for young women.
CFYE’s grant funding and technical assistance will be crucial to support MGA’s integration of collectors agents, AAPs, and consumers into a formalized plastic waste collection model. The grant funding will enable outputs that are otherwise difficult to realise by the MGA through commercial financings, such as training and support of waste pickers on more social topics and enhanced advocacy and lobbying. Through CFYE’s contribution, MGA will establish new partnerships with relevant product and service providers that leverage MGA’s reward-based system to create behavioural change in consumers and collectors. This will increase the sourcing volume of plastic waste, while improving livelihoods throughout the entire value chain.