Nzambi Matee: Meet The Woman Turning Waste Plastics Into A 1,500 Bricks-A-Day Business That Employs Hundreds

by Gee NY

Plastic waste continues to be a global concern, impacting ecosystems, wildlife, and human health, but Nzambi Matee, a determined entrepreneur from Kenya, has taken up the challenge to address this issue.

She is repurposing the discarded plastic!

Matee’s company, Gjenge Makers, specializes in recycling plastic waste into innovative building blocks.

Utilizing her background in material science and engineering, Matee sought a sustainable solution for plastic waste. Gjenge Makers recycles 10 to 25 metric tonnes of plastic weekly, combining the recycled material with sand to create a mixture molded into paving bricks.

This process is a form of mechanical recycling, which proves cost-effective, particularly in developing economies like Kenya.

Nzambi says the essential role of plastic as a resource affecting various sectors. Recognizing the need for responsible disposal, Gjenge Makers focuses on transforming plastic waste into practical construction materials, such as paving blocks. The company’s hydraulic press shapes the mixture into different sizes, producing blocks stronger and more affordable than traditional concrete.

Gjenge has successfully implemented its sustainable building blocks in various projects across Kenya, including roads, children’s homes, and gardens. Nzambi’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to pivot from a plastics collection business to creating environmentally friendly construction products.

Nzambi Matee says that her bricks are stronger than concrete. Image credit: VINCENT OORO

The demand for Gjenge’s products currently exceeds supply, with plans to expand into 3D technology for diverse shapes and products. Additionally, Nzambi aims to contribute to the community by promoting recycling culture, upcycling, and providing job opportunities for young people in Africa.

The story of Gjenge Makers first broke in 2020 and as it continues to thrive, Nzambi Matee envisions a sustainable future where plastic waste is repurposed into vital resources, setting a model for global adoption.

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