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Kenya’s private sector said on Friday it will spearhead green economic growth through increased recycling of waste products.

Carol Karuga, CEO, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), said that industries will work together to close the loop by promoting and embracing the redesigning, repairing, recycling, reusing and reducing strategies.

“The private sector is keen on the swift transition to a circular economy in Kenya. This is an essential move if we want to minimize the damaging effects of our actions on the environment and build long-term resilience,” Karuga said during a webinar on circular economy.

She observed that Kenya has made a sustainability mark internationally especially due to the stringent regulatory frameworks and policies that include the bans on polyethylene bags and single-use plastics, national sustainable waste and e-waste management policies, extended producer responsibility regulations that have contributed a great deal to the growth of the circular economy.

Karuga noted that as the country pursues green economic growth, it will also create sustainable opportunities for Kenyans.

“The private sector has a collective role in driving initiatives that drive the adoption of sustainable business practices and that increase awareness on circular economy and its extensive benefits,” she added.

KEPSA noted that unlike the linear model, circularity will create employment opportunities for the jobless, including for waste pickers whose sector is still informal and thus not fully supported.

Karuga also highlighted the need to create a local economy that thrives on local resources, that will reduce imports by retaining as many resources within the nation, while at the same time increasing Kenya’s exports capacity.

She also urged the private sector to increase the flow of financial investments into sustainable development initiatives and environmental policies that encourage the expansion of a circular and future-proof economy.

“This will go a long way not only towards environmental protection, but also in strengthening our social safety nets, especially during such uncertain times as we are currently living in,” Karuga said.

Ayub Macharia, director of education and awareness in the Ministry of Environment, said that the government is fast-tracking legislation that will promote recycling of all forms of waste.

He noted that currently every Kenyan on average generates half a kilogram of waste daily and the rate is expected to increase due to improving socio-economic indicators.

Macharia said that through public sensitization to encourage behavior what is considered waste will become recycled into new products through innovations.

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