People Daily

Building green walls from recycled bottles

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And in this particular case, that couldn’t be more true. Using locally sourced waste plastic bottles, these installations are simply constructed using suspended cables attached to the wall

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

Countless plastic bottles are consumed every day around the world. They are a regular part of modern life, in fact, about one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and most of them end up in the landfill.

After the ban of plastic bags last year in Kenya, there were considerations to ban plastic bottles too, but the ban may not be necessary as a Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) in Kiambu has come up with a smart way of disposing of plastic bottles without hurting the environment.

Starte four years ago, Top Kenya, in cooperation with six NGOs, is training youth in Ruiru, Kiambu county on how to make green walls using these bottles.

A green wall is comprised plants grown in supported vertical or horizontal systems that are generally attached to an internal or external wall, although in some cases can be freestanding.

“Green walls have become popular in urban areas where people want to make their space greener, but don’t have a lot of room to do so. Vertical gardens ensure the benefits of green space without taking up too much space,” said one of Top Kenya founders Philippe Scheimann.

James Otieno, Top Kenya coordinator. Photo/MILLIAM MURIGI

Like many green roofs, green walls incorporate vegetation, growing medium, irrigation and drainage into a single system.

Top Kenya are using plastic bottles as the medium for planting horticultural products as vegetation.

“We decided to use bottles because they are readily available.

Apart from that, they are not biodegradable thus ending up causing more harm than good to the environment,” said Yaniv fieldust, a trainer.

Scheimann says unemployment and food insecurity in Kenya are the main motivation for starting the project, and they wanted to help youths produce healthy food, which can also help increase peoples, school’s and communities’ income in a simple way; using plastic bottles and containers.

“The problem of plastic bottles is not only in Kenya, but worldwide. The aim of this project is to tap into our potential and transform our problems using technology of peace,” said James Otieno, Top Kenya coordinator. Experts from Israel at Resources Oriented Development Initiative (Rodi) Kenya centre conducted the first one week training in February.

The students then went for four months practical lessons. During practicals, trainers are connected with students online, where they assess their work and once satisfied, they will be issued with certificates.

“We had a practical class at Joytown Primary School for physically challenged because we wanted to pass the message that this technology can be used by all,” said Otieno.

The training focused on empowering young entrepreneurs to start income generating enterprises in the agricultural sector, become active proponents of plastic upcycling with a clear understanding of the issue and application around climate change, act as positive agents in their communities and bring about behavioural change among their peers and across their communities.

“Our first batch had 40 students from all over the country who will graduate in July. We were training them in three areas: green walls, upcycling of food and creating documentaries,” says Yaniv.

He revealed that if the youth fully embrace the technology and teach others, there will be food in plenty with some ending up being wasted, and that is why food upcycling lessons were important.

For documentaries, this will be the best way to pass information from one student to another and also to other Kenyans who need to learn about the technology.

“We want to tap in the success of Israel technology and innovation. That is why we have partnered with an Israel team for skill development and capacity building,” adds Otieno.

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