IEET and TOBE SHOJI Organize Plastic Material Recycling Training

Prof. Robert Kinyua making his speech during the training

The Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IEET) at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in collaboration with Tobe Shoji and JICA, hosted a two-day training on Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) material recycling for staff, students and industry stakeholders on Tuesday, January 23, and Thursday, January 25, 2024.

The training will aid efforts geared towards recycling the 40,000 tons of PET bottles made in Kenya annually, most of which is disposed of in landfills.

The initiative that targets staff and students enrolled in plastic recycling courses as well as energy sector stakeholders among other disciplines, aims to provide skills and knowledge necessary for handling, managing and recycling PET material.

Speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua said, the University stands out as one of the few in Africa to have a recycling facility, and the project will help develop capacity for recycling PET water bottles into high-purity pellets in addition to addressing climate change and the circular economy.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Production and Extension), Prof. Jackson Kwanza expressed gratitude to the Japanese technical team, noting JKUAT is proud of the experts especially those who will be responsible for training other JKUAT staff and future local companies.

Ms. Purity Njeru a Senior Technologist at IEET (in orange reflector) explaining to some of the stakeholders on how the recycling machines operate

He noted that nine operators from various university departments have already been trained and will take charge of the training alongside the Japanese team during the session that seeks to train sixty (60) individuals.”

Mr. Tomofumi Tobe, President of TobeShoji, stated that they conducted an SDGs Business Model Formulation Survey with the cooperation of JICA, JKUAT, and other Kenyan partners as a contribution to proper treatment of used PET bottles in Kenya, based on their vast experience and technology in resource recycling in Japan.

“We can recycle PET bottles in Kenya if we buy old PET bottle flakes, process it locally into recycled PET pellets, and then offer those recycled PET pellets as raw materials for PET goods to the plastic manufacturing sector,” he stated.

Director of IEET, Dr. Paul Njogu, expressed gratitude to the management for the assistance extended to the institute, noting they are pleased to be the project’s host institution. Furthermore, the project, he said, he would go a long way towards supporting the Institute’s programs as well as JKUAT operations.

Dr. Njogu said, researchers and students are welcome to undertake studies and research at the demonstration plant.

A section of the shareholders keenly following during the proceedings

“We believe this workshop has been beneficial to industry players, and we are willing to collaborate with JKUAT in bridging the gap between academic and industry players. This will also assist students to gain employment in the country’s recycling organizations,” stated Mr. Richard Kainika, Secretary General of Kenya Association of Waste Recyclers and one of the workshop trainees.

The project, a Public-Private Partnership  between the Kenyan and Japanese governments, and private companies from Japan, Tobe Shoji and National Chemical Trading (NCT), is being carried out in cooperation with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, National Environment Management Authority, Packaging Producer Responsibility Organization Limited, formerly known as PET Recycling Company: PETCO) and other organizations.

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