How the Private Sector is Revolutionizing Waste Management in Africa

Effective waste management in African cities is a critical topic. Poor sanitation is leading to waste in our water bodies and streets. Urbanization seems to do even more harm as the dumping sites become uncontrollable. The African governments are not doing much to set aside land for the dump site. That is why private institutions have taken up the industry.

This private sector uses a circular economy in its management. What is a “circular economy”? This is an economy designed to reuse, recycle, or refurbish products. It ensures that nothing goes to waste, as there’s maximum production of the available resources. Private institutions have come up with e-collection to help the situation.

Mobile apps have been developed to help in the fight. The waste pickers can track their reward points for the litter they collect on their mobile phones. The points can be converted to either vouchers or real money. There are many startups across Africa, and the mother of them all is Mr. Green Africa from Kenya.

It was established in 2014 with the aim of creating a sustainable environment. The company has over 100 employees and plans to hire more. They process and sell plastics as post-consumer recycled plastics. These plastics are later sold by large manufacturing companies such as Unilever.

How the e-collection works

Waste pickers move around the companies collecting waste. They either move from door to door or pick up the plastic from the dumping sites. Mr. Green, Africa For example, they give out points that can be converted into cash or vouchers for shopping at their Mart locations.It is a win-win situation for both parties.

These waste pickers move from door to door or sort out plastics on collection sites. They play a big role in the future of waste management and a sustainable environment.

The collected plastics are processed and then sold as post-consumer recycled plastics to plastic manufacturing companies for use by large fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies.

How it’s affecting the economy

Waste pollution, especially plastics, contributes to greenhouse gases. That is why having a waste collection initiative is important for a sustainable environment. Sensitization and education about recycling and reusing help people become more conscious of using the designated dumping sites.

The job creation that comes with waste management is incredible. Thousands of young men and women are working in the fruit picking industry to make a living.The incentives offered by the stakeholders sustain most families. For this reason, the government and all the other stakeholders should work together to ensure that enough budget is allocated to make the waste management initiative a success.

Increased incentives will result in increased collection and recycling of plastics. The government and the private sector can work together for the benefit of the informal sector.

Main photo: By Leonard Kisuu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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