Our partner, Africa Collect Textiles (ACT), is an independent textile collection and recycling company in Kenya that was founded by Elmar Stroomer and Alex Musembi. ACT collects waste textiles and redistributes them to local people in need (e.g., handicapped, orphanages, and elderly people) or recycles them manually into various new products, such as carpets, footwear and backpacks.
So far ACT has collected over 50,000 kg of used textiles and thereby saved approximately 250,000 kg of CO2, as well as other hazardous toxics and a lot of water. It not only changes the culture of people throwing out textiles, creates jobs locally, but also provides affordable clothing to people in need.
Every year, there are approximately 60 billion kilograms of textiles and footwear land-filled or burned. As of today, low-income countries such as Kenya contribute comparatively little to the world’s textile waste, but many African countries continue to import more and more second-hand clothing and are simultaneously investing heavily in local production. Yet, simply increasing textile imports and production, and thus textile waste, comes with pitfalls and concerns if local systems and industries are not ready for it.
It is estimated that the minimum textile waste output in Kenya is about 100 million kg per year and 20% of which is from Nairobi. Not only facing overwhelming textile waste, but Nairobi is also battling with many further challenges, one of which is inefficient waste management. ACT contributes to the socio-economic and ecological development of the city. Not only providing further employment opportunities for the locals, but also redistributing low-budget clothing to the poorer Kenyans.
At present, there are more and more textiles being collected by ACT, however, not all the materials can be resold as wearable or can be recycled into a new product. To make sure that ACT can process up to 100% of the collected materials, a simple shredder machine for making pillow filling is required as an alternative to newly produced and imported textiles.
The team will be part of the Circular portfolio of EWB-NL and will help ACT with such shredder design. A base case capacity of 100 kg/hr is desired at the first stage of the project for the shredder design. A techno-economic analysis will be carried out by the project team for the new ACT technology. ACT and local researchers will collaborate in order to make a feasible solution for the company in Kenya. Are you interested in this project? Then apply and join us!