Artículo | 15 Feb, 2021

MARPLASTICCs video series: Kilifi County Circular Economy Enterprises, a Circular Economy initiative implemented by EcoWorld Recycling in Kenya

Today marks the first of a short series of videos on the contribution of community-based initiatives to Circular Economy. The first video presents a project by EcoWorld Recycling, working to protect the Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve on the coast of Kenya. The initiative is part of the Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities (MARPLASTICCs) project managed by IUCN and supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

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Women making jewelry from recycled flip flops

Photo: Watamu Marine Association, Kenya

Working at the local engagement level toward a more inclusive Circular Economy, the Kilifi County Circular Economy Enterprises initiative has created a dynamic plastic waste value chain between the local community and tourism industry. Over 1,000 kg of hard plastics are being processed each month at the EcoWorld Recycling centre. This created jobs for recyclers and part-time income for the community beach-cleaning teams, and provides an environmental service to hotels. 100 waste pickers receive an income from waste collection and 30 community members have been trained on making upcycled products of value.

The video presents the work currently being undertaken by EcoWorld Recycling in Kilifi county in Kenya, from beach clean-ups to crushing plastic waste and turning it into upcycled products. It also introduces the Weigh and Pay initiative supported by the project, whereby community members bring hard plastics in return of a financial contribution after they have been trained on the different types of plastics. The impacts of COVID-19 on the initiative are explained, as well as the project’s response to them. Through powerful images and strong testimonies, the video illustrates the activities and achievements of EcoWorld Recycling in making communities see the value of plastics and involving them in reducing plastic waste leakage into the marine environment.

“The key impacts that we have experienced in this project was being able, with the support of IUCN, to purchase a truck, which has allowed us to expand our activities to other towns and to be able to reach beaches we otherwise would not have been able to reach. We also purchased a PET crushing machine and an injection moulder, and with this we can take the plastics we collect from our beaches and crush it and turn it into upcycled products and improve our livelihoods. Also we are able to do training for community members on upcycling – all in all a win for many stakeholders,” Julie Myra Alego, EcoWorld Recycling 

Implemented by EcoWorld Recycling and managed by Watamu Marine Association, the Kilifi County Circular Economy Enterprises  is one of the five circular economy initiatives IUCN supports as part of its MARPLASTICCs project working to reduce the amount of plastic leaking into the marine environment. Thanks to IUCN grant, the initiative has improved the reuse, recycling, and upcycling of plastic waste materials. It has developed community-based small business enterprises and increased employment opportunities and income benefits related to circular economy activities. The initiative is enhancing partnerships among civil society and the private and public sectors, and improving information sharing within these partnerships. WMA is scaling its operations to the larger neighbouring coastal towns of Malindi and Kilifi. 


In 2017, with generous support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), IUCN launched the Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities initiative (MARPLASTICCs), an initiative in Africa and Asia that works in five countries: Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The project consists of four pillars: capacity building through circular economy initiatives, production of knowledge products – including the national guidance and reports on plastic pollution hotspotting, economic and regulatory policy analysis in each country, and connecting with the private sector with a business component to help businesses identify plastic leakage in their value chains. As part of the Capacity pillar, MARPLASTICCs has been supporting existing, small-scale circular economy initiatives that aim to reduce the amount of plastic leaking into the marine environment. MARPLASTICCs has provided a financial grant of up to USD 50,000, in each target country. 

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Supported by Sida