JKUAT Stage a Workshop on PET Recycling Innovation towards Circular Economy

The Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IEET), in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tobe Shoji Company Limited, and NCT Chemical Company Ltd, successfully organized a workshop on the recycling of used Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles into high-quality pellets for industrial use.

The event, which took place on January 25th, 2024, was hosted at JKUAT’s iPIC Centre and PET Recycling Pilot Plant.

Key figures such as Mr. Tomofumi Tobe, President of Tobe Shoji Company Ltd, and Mr. Tomonori Kanaizuka, General Manager of New Chemical Trading, shared valuable insights derived from their experiences in the Japanese private sector. The workshop received a warm welcome from Prof. Robert Kinyua, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Prof. Daniel Sila, Principal of the College of Agriculture, reflecting the significance of the initiative within the long-standing partnership between JKUAT and JICA.

Inside; PET Recycling Pilot at JKUAT

Prof. Kinyua emphasized the workshop’s importance, stating, “This is yet another landmark step in the University’s long-running partnership with JICA, citing that University-Industry linkage is a core mandate of JKUAT as a research institution.”

Discussions during the workshop covered the machinery used in the PET recycling pilot plant, the PET recycling process, and pertinent environmental policies and regulations. The primary audience for this workshop comprised policy-makers in Kenya specializing in the circular economy, as well as professionals engaged in plastic (PET) recycling and plastic product manufacturing.

The circular economy, showcased as a model of production and consumption, advocates for practices such as sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products to extend their life cycle. This departure from the linear economic model, marked by a take-make-consume-throw-away pattern, aims to minimize waste and contribute to environmental sustainability.

The workshop also addressed the significance of the newly constructed PET bottle recycling pilot plant, funded by the Japan Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the SDGs Business Verification Survey. This initiative is instrumental in advancing material recycling of used PET bottles and aligns with Kenya’s vision to achieve a clean and safe environment by 2030 through improved waste management and sanitation facilities.

The participants pose for a commemorative photo

Key attendees included officials from JICA Headquarters and JICA Kenya Office, representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, as well as professionals from plastic processing and recycling industries. The pilot plant offers a solution to the environmental challenges posed by mismanaged plastic bottles, including air and water pollution, flooding, and threats to marine life.

Despite the positive strides, the plastics recycling industry in Kenya is still in its nascent stage, facing hurdles such as a lack of input materials and infrastructure, limited investment, and restricted access to market information. The workshop served as a platform to address these challenges and foster collaboration among stakeholders for the sustainable development of the recycling industry in Kenya.

(Posted by Esther Ndiwa)