Life as a refugee

Plastic recycling

Plastic waste is a huge challenge in Kenya. At the same time, the number of refugees in the country is increasing. In collaboration with Unilever and Mr. Green Africa, we run "Fair Recycling", which ensures that plastic is recycled and refugees get jobs at the same time.

Sorting plastic waste in Nairobi, Kenya. DRC

Sorting plastic waste in Nairobi, Kenya. DRC

Why plastic management is important

The production and burning of plastic takes a toll on the climate, and the plastic that is not collected ends up in nature and the oceans, where it takes many years to decompose. Examples include bags, water bottles and food packaging.

Although plastic pollution is particularly prevalent in poor countries, this does not mean that these countries are using more plastic. On the contrary, it's because they don't have the resources or systems in place to deal with the huge amounts of plastic waste.

This is also true in Kenya. And in addition to the plastic challenge, the country also has half a million refugees struggling to find work. Both are the result of a lack of formal organization and lack of a sustainable system.

We want to help create such a system!

Fair Recycling - how it works

Fair Recycling - how it works

In Kenya, plastic waste frequently litters urban spaces. One of the biggest challenges is that the waste is either not collected - or it is removed by waste collectors who live in extreme poverty and work in extremely poor conditions.

We have therefore partnered with plastic recycler Mr. Green Africa to collect, sort and recycle the large amounts of plastic waste.

Under the 'Fair Recycling' project, we integrate refugees and other marginalized groups into the work.

The waste is sorted at a collection point in Nairobi, Kenya. From there, it is purchased by Unilever, which ensures that it is recycled into new consumer products.


The project adds value to refugees' everyday lives

The project adds value to refugees' everyday lives

Specifically, we involve refugees and other vulnerable people in training programs and ensure that they have proper working conditions and a steady income so that they can create a more secure everyday life.

The project not only contributes to a more climate-friendly and circular recycling system for plastics in Kenya. It also ensures decent working conditions, increased income and dignity for vulnerable, and often excluded, groups in society, including refugees.

Facts about Kenya

Kenya hosts 561,836 refugees and asylum seekers, predominantly of Somali and South Sudanese origin. The vast majority of families live in Dadaab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps, while around 88,884 live in Nairobi and other cities.

DRC has been operating in Kenya since 2005 and is one of the UN Refugee Agency's largest partners in the country.

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