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The innovation addresses deforestation and plastic waste challenges as an opportunity to manufacture school desks from recycled plastic.



The Problem

With an introduction of free primary education in Kenya back in 2003, about 1.3 million students have been joining both primary and secondary schools every year, increasing the production of the tradition wooden desk and in turn leading to illegal logging and massive destruction of trees.

On average, 10 M square feet of forest is lost each year to build wooden desks for newly enrolled students, leading to soil erosion, desertification and water shortage.

On the other hand, about 10,000 metric tons of plastic waste is generated in Kenya daily. Nairobi alone, generates 2800 tones daily, 20% of which is thrown into the environment, blocking our drainages and encroaching our homes. There is a need to come up with a practical and sustainable model to solve these two environmental problems. That is why we came up with the manufacturing of plastic desks, made out of recycled plastic waste known as ECO-DAWATI.


We are designing and introducing a comfortable, low maintenance, durable, portable and Eco-friendly school desk made of recycled plastic and metal. The innovation of Eco-dawati school desk consists of giving a fresh and modern look to African classrooms, thus, promoting education in both rural and modern Kenya. Moreover, ECO-DAWATI converts plastic waste into useful products.

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What additional cross-regional proposals are included in your plan, if any?

The project titled The "Plastic" School: Plastic Waste Management with Fun!! (“ Plastic" school) could compliment our proposal by providing raw materials to be used in manufacturing of school desks. Since we are establishing collection Centre within Nairobi city and plastic schools could come in handy to complement our waste collection strategies. However, we will engage youth and women for the plastic collection sorting and cleaning as a way to provide employment to the local community. 

How do the regional and cross-sectoral plans above fit together?

 Cross-sectoral, regional and international partnerships will go a long way in reducing the 85% of global plastic waste which is not recycled. Plastic waste is known to be cheap, versatile and incredibly important, but on the other hand it does not decompose when disposed off. Therefore regional and cross plans need to be put in place to address these problem. Combining efforts from various waste management experts would dramatically reduce plastic that ends up in ocean as well as deliver environmental and economic benefits to local communities.




Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab


The Ecodawati team performed an in-depth analysis of the business greenhouse reduction and the results were astounding. For every ton of plastic collected and recycled; the company avoids 1.4 tons of CO2 emissions. In other words, with the 1200 tons of e-waste collected and recycled in the next five years, 1,680 tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided.

The CO2 reductions are broken as follows.
- 1,260 tons of CO2 avoided because no virgin plastic was manufactured.
- 404 tons of CO2 avoided because of Edodawatis local recycling activities
- 16 tons of CO2 avoided because energy will be recovered from non-recyclables
- Taking into account recycling the total CO2 emissions avoided amount to 4.5 times the emissions produced during collecting, transporting, pre-treatment.

What are the plan’s key benefits?

In the next five years the business will create over 400 jobs for youth and women. The staff will be engaged in waste collection, sorting and cleaning plastic waste for recycling. Moreover, the business will help to save save over 300 acres of forests and withdraw over 1,200,000 kg of plastic waste from the environment. The highlighted goals are in line with the Eco-Dawatis mission of conserving its forests, managing the ever growing streams of garbage in the country, promoting education and reducing poverty in line with its MDG commitments.

What are the plan’s costs?

Some of the activities of Ecodawati will emit greenhouse gasses and thus having a negative impact on the climate. For instance, trucks collecting waste use fuel, electricity is used in the sorting centre, and the transport of desks to schools also uses fuel.

On the other hand, Ecodawati activities also avoid emissions. Infact, due to reintroduction into production and  the recycling of material  less new plastic will have to be manufactured. Since the manufacturing plastic from virgin resources requires more energy, and emits more greenhouse gasses than recycling. Recycling reduces the emission of greenhouse gasses than it generates.

What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

Clear plastics are always preferred in the recycled materials market, and have the highest material value. This is because transparent plastic can typically be dyed with greater flexibility. However, the colored plastics (especially opaque varieties) are often limited to become darker shades of the original dye, or black. For this reason pigmented plastics are contaminants to the recycler stream, and subsequently dispose of them instead of recycle them. This issue is extenuated with the low cost of oil, as that makes it even harder for recyclers to compete with the price of virgin polymers.

Collection and sorting out plastic of co-mingled rigid recyclables by both automatic and manual methods is time consuming and can be costly especially when it’s done in small scale. Proper implementation of scaling up strategy would be time and cost effective.


Phase one 2015

This phase will be the most paramount period in product development and market research. The initial program will include acquiring materials and equipment for plastic collection and recycling. We will acquire and outsource recycling equipment as well as services from plastic recycling experts. During this phase, data collection and market analysis will also take place. We will segment the market in order to undertake the most cost effective production process. Decisions on the best design for the plastic desks will also be made in order to accommodate the diverse needs of our target market. This phase will also see the introduction of the plastic desks to the first county in the country; we have chosen Kiambu County to pilot the project.


Phase two 2016


This is the scaling up phase. After successful introduction of the plastic desks to the first county, this phase will involve expanding into other counties in Nairobi and its environs. During this year, job creation will be our key motive going forward. We are anticipating increased demand for the desks which indicates the need to collect more raw materials (plastic wastes). Over 400 jobs will be created targeting the youth and women in collection and sorting. This phase will also involve active lobbying and sensitization on the impact of the project on the environment. This will attract goodwill from strategic individuals and entities with potential for positive partnerships.

Phase three 2017

The challenges addressed by our project are not unique to the country. It is a common problem across the African continent and other developing countries. In this phase, we will introduce the plastic desks to other countries beginning with East Africa. Having achieved large scale production phase, we will acquire multiple types of automated equipment technologies.


Hopewell, J., Dvorak, R., & Kosior, E. (2009, July 29). Plastics recycling: Challenges and opportunities. Retrieved October 17, 2015, from

Marja-Riitta, H. (n.d.). Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Recycling Plastics or Textile Waste? Retrieved October 17, 2015, from

Straka, T. (2014, March 1). Timberland Value: From Inventory to Cash Flows. Retrieved October 17, 2015, from