Matee, a materials engineer, founded the company in 2018 out of frustration with what the government was doing (and not doing) with the problem of plastic pollution. “I was tired of being on the sidelines,” she told Reuters. Matee gets the waste that cannot be recycled from recyclers for a minimal amount. She also gets the waste from packaging factories without any cost.
Her factory processes different kinds of plastic waste such as high-density polyethylene, used in milk and shampoo bottles; low-density polyethylene, often used as bags for cereals or sandwiches; and polypropylene, used for ropes, flip-top lids, and buckets; except polyethylene terephthalate or PET, commonly used for plastic bottles.
With her expertise in the field, she designed her own machines that mix plastic waste with sand, heat it, and compress into bricks in different thickness and color. Matee proudly claims that their product is “almost five to seven times stronger than concrete” yet sustainable and affordable.
Since it was founded, her factory has recycled over 20 tonnes of plastic waste, producing 1,500 bricks each day. She said she hopes to add another bigger production line that could triple capacity.
For more information about Gjenge Makers, visit gjenge.co.ke