Nzambi Matee pictured at the Gjenge Makers factory with one of her recycled plastic bricks. (Photo: screenshot from UN Environment Programme video ) It’s no secret that recycling plastic is good for the Earth. When not recycled, single-use plastics clog landfills and litter city streets. This is a problem across the world, and young Kenyan materials engineer Nzambi Matee grew increasingly frustrated at the waste accumulating in her hometown of Nairobi. She decided to invent her own innovative solution to help promote the circular use of plastics. She founded Gjenge Makers , a business which transforms plastics into sustainable, extremely durable construction materials using machines designed by Matee herself. Their colorful bricks are stronger than concrete and swiftly gaining global attention—including from the United Nations. Frustrated with the slow municipal response to the problem of plastic waste, Matee told Reuters , “I was tired of being on the sidelines.” With her background in material sciences, the young entrepreneur designed a system which converts high density polyethylene, low density polyethylene, and polypropylene plastics into solid bricks. She founded Gjenge Makers in Nairobi to put this process into action. The company acquires plastics in need of upcycling from factories and recyclers. […]


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