DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A young Tanzanian entrepreneur is turning the country’s mounting plastic waste into “lumber” to help meet demand for housing in its growing cities, in an effort to reduce depletion of forests.
Christian Mwijage decided he could tackle those problems in one go – by turning discarded plastic bottles into building materials that can be used instead of wood.
His year-old company, EcoAct Tanzania, has transformed nearly 1 million kilograms (3.27 mln pounds) of waste into “plastic lumber” that can be used for fences, house beams, signposts and more.
The company says it is reducing waste in the East African nation’s cluttered commercial capital, while creating jobs for young people and saving trees.
EcoAct Tanzania won the $10,000 Africa Finance and Investment Forum Entrepreneurship Award in Nairobi this week, which will help it grow, said founder and director Mwijage.
“It’s a pressing issue in our country – I feel like we have a big problem with plastic waste,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, explaining why he started the company in late 2015.
Mwijage’s home of Dar es Salaam is the biggest city in Tanzania and one of the fastest-growing on the continent, with a population of over 4 million.