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Private sector engagement

Fair recycling: A plastic recycling ecosystem in Kenya

Africa contains some of the world’s largest amounts of plastic waste as well as an increasing refugee and displacement crises. In partnership with Unilever and Mr. Green Africa, DRC is working on the Fair Recycling Project to provide more jobs, higher income and better work conditions for refugees.

The project structure

The project has a total duration of 3 years and is structured under 4 project outputs:

Identification, registration and integration of 1,500 waste pickers
Transform 500 waste pickers to become Collector Agents
Develop, pilot and institutionalise 4 effective and sustainable impact boosters
Strengthen Kenya’s plastic waste collection and recycling ecosystem
Kenya's waste issue

Kenya's waste issue

One of the major challenges in Kenya’s waste and recycling sector is that the urban waste is either not collected and recycled at all, or it is collected by waste pickers who are perceived as outcasts and live in poverty, under poor working conditions. At the same time, the 500.000 registered refugees, hosted by Kenya, generally face substantial barriers to access employment opportunities.

The low income of waste pickers and the plastic waste challenge in areas hosting refugees are closely connected. Both are a result of low-value chain efficiency, limited value addition and a lack of formal organisation.

Read more about Kenya

Fair Recycling

Fair Recycling

The Danish Refugee Council work on integrating informal and marginalised waste pickers and refugees in Kenya, into a formalised plastics recycling value chain. Together with Mr. Green Africa, refugees are enrolled in employment programs as waste-pickers, where the gathered plastic is bought by Unilever. This is then recycled into new consumer products, contributing to a fair and formal recycling ecosystem in Kenya.

By implementing innovative and financially sustainable impact-interventions in the value chain, the “Fair Recycling” project works to contribute to safer working conditions, increased income and decent jobs, and drive the transition to a localised circular plastic economy.

The project seeks to strengthen existing efforts in graduating individuals out of poverty and enhance the plastic waste recycling value chain in urban areas.

The progress so far

As of October 2022...

  • 2845 waste pickers have been registered, where 1948 are Kenyans (68 pct) and 897 are refugees (32 pct).
  • 1297 waste pickers have received basic training. 
  • 65 waste pickers are trading with MGA earning approximately kes 263.941.80. Of these are 17 Kenyans and 48 refugees.
  • 2 pilot “Impact boosters” packages designed.


Mr. Green Africa
Mr. Green Africa