Urban waste problems solved by a collection and composting project in Nakuru, Kenya | Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation
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Urban waste problems solved by a collection and composting project in Nakuru, Kenya

In Nakuru, Kenya's fourth-largest city, the insufficient waste collection systems and unregulated waste disposal have resulted in huge amounts of waste accumulating in the region. That is why with the collaboration of multiple stakeholders, an effective solution came forward to adress this issue. Nakuru Waste Collectors and Recyclers Management (NAWACOM) has set up an operation where waste gets collected from households with the help of waste collectors and then later sold as valuable compost to the local farmers. The organisation’s solution contributed to social and environmental benefits, as they reduced waste levels, gave income opportunities for the community, and provided useful product offering to increase agricultural yields. 


The key contributors to Kenya's high amounts of solid waste are substantial urban growth happening, an estimated level of 3.4% increase in population per year, and the growing production and manufacturing activity in the country. In the town of Nakuru, ineffective waste management facilities and insufficient, unregulated waste disposal have resulted in rising waste loads.


To target the problem of accumulating waste, Practical Action Kenya joined a local action group and formed the Nakuru Waste Collectors and Recyclers Management (NAWACOM) together. The newly founded organisation pays waste collectors who gather the waste from residences in Nakuru and uses the waste collected to create valuable compost to sell to clients. These households are not charged for this service that brings benefits for them, and in exchange, they are also not compensated for supplying waste to the cooperative. Following collection, the waste gets transported, sorted, and composted. Later the processing starts, which involves a lab review of the material as well as the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to make the product better. Lastly, it gets sold to local farmers with a brand name called Mazingira. 


NAWACOM is currently involving 336 local people in its organisation along with giving secure income to the waste collectors and is also contributing to integrating many of these informal economy workers into the job market. Furthermore, they are reducing the waste in Nakuru, which, in turn, lowers emission levels, and the organisation has an output of 2.5 tonnes of compost made from waste per week which helps agricultural yields for farmers. 

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