Kusaga: A Waste Bank Initiative

Published on May 30, 2014 um 13:55

Name of Enterprise


Your title/position


Type of Enterprise

registered company, informal program/project , other:

Enterprise has a positive impact on

environment, education , poverty reduction , sustainable trade, empowerment of women, youth

Year the enterprise was founded


Summary of your enterprise

KUSAGA means 'to recycle' in Swahili. It aims to create ways in which municipal solid waste from residential and commercial areas can be collected and turned to cash. Africa as a whole is not at the level it should be when it comes to recycling and reusing. KUSAGA's vision is therefore to: create a 3Rs mentality towards waste disposal; reduce the amount of solid waste contributing to land, air and water pollution; aid and solidify current efforts being put towards conservation of the environment and reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. KUSAGA is essentially a recycling centre and waste bank initiative. The processes are as follows: (1) Those in residential and commercial areas can collect the waste they produce and practice source segregation. (2) This waste can then be taken to their nearest KUSAGA waste bank, which is a waste collection point. (3) After registering, the waste bank will offer them a card on which they can earn points. The number of points allocated are dependent on the nature and amount of recyclable goods they bring in e.g. paper, plastic, glass waste etc. (4) The recyclable goods are then transported to the KUSAGA recycling centre where the waste is sorted and compacted in order to be transported to different recycling plants throughout the country. (5) Accumulated points can be redeemed and turned to cash thus creating additional income.

Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development

Recycling plants, individuals/firms and the Government all benefit from KUSAGA. In Kenya, there is no clear or standard regulation for waste disposal mechanisms. Recycling plants can obtain a constant supply of waste by placing an order for the nature of waste that they require or specialize in. Individuals, as aforementioned, redeem points to earn cash. Firms can incorporate waste disposal to KUSAGA as part of their CSR programs. The Government can collect taxes from KUSAGA and both entities as a result will work towards the proposed Vision 2030 blueprint for 'minimization and recycling of waste'.

Sustainability and future plans

After the initial pilot program in a low to upper middle income area in Nairobi (low income areas in Kenya mostly generate organic waste and therefore would not suffice), the project can be evaluated and expanded all over Nairobi with KUSAGA waste banks in proximity to densely populated areas. The key factors that would contribute to overall success would be: successful networking with franchises, adhering to international standards of waste handling, setting up convenient waste banks/drop-off points, promoting branch franchises regionally and overseas in order to promote regional/international trade and to promote the idea of neatly separating waste. In 1 year's time, the pilot project should be able to successfully give proper valuation for the project. In 5 years' time, I see the project expanding regionally across East Africa with the fixation on environmentalism and green thinking broadening the minds of young African conservationists. Hopefully, landfills and dump sites such as Dandora (KE), Olusosun (NG) and Bisasar Road (SA) shall become a thing of the past.

Your profile as an entrepreneur

I am Karen Kandia, a 24 year old environmentalist currently working at an environmental management consultancy firm in Nairobi. My background is in Business and Economics and I have plans underway to study an MSc in Environmental Economics. My motivation and passion for the environment are the driving factors which I use to scale my ideas. I independently researched on and wrote a proposal on solid waste management solutions and have a proactive attitude towards ensuring we as inhabitants of this planet take responsibility for our environment and work towards conserving the resources we have left.

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