Finally our recycling machines arrive


Arrival of our recycling machines at the Trace recycling site in Gilgil

While most people all over the world were enjoying Easter this weekend, we were busy at work receiving our much awaited recycling machines in Gilgil. This is a journey we had planned for many months with numerous hurdles in between and postponement of the arrival date. The reasons for this varied and were mostly as a result of policy changes for importation by both our supplier country and our home country Kenya.

First of all there was a policy change for the amount of weight each container could handle in South Africa where our supplier Tereco Ltd was based. While this looks like a simple and straight forward policy, its impact was immense on us. We had planned on shipping our equipment with only one 40 Ft Container but now it meant adding an extra one and consequently doubling our shipping, logistics and taxation costs. What a blow! We went on a search of cheaper shipping lines and this took a lot of time as all the companies needed to view the equipment before making a quote. Some of these companies were not domiciled in Cape Town where our supplier was based and hence this resulted in numerous scheduling and rescheduling of dates to view the equipment.

Just when we had found a cheaper shipping line we could work with, a new policy on inspection of equipment by the Kenya Bureau of Standards was gazetted. Previously you could ship in your equipment and have it inspected at the arrival port at no cost and saving you a lot time. Now you needed to contract a reputable global inspection firm to view and inspect the equipment in the country of purchase before shipping it into the country. Failure to do so would attract a 15% penalty on the CFR cost of the equipment (CFR – Cost and Freight of the equipment). We again went on the search for a reputable firm and settled on SGS South Africa to do this service for us.

This was settled and we finally imported our equipment which arrived at our site on Easter Friday. But wait, there is more. One piece of our equipment, the pressing machine (which presses the heated plastic and sand mixture in to the final roofing tile product) weighs 21 tonnes. Basically meaning during construction of our facility, we should not have roofed so that the crane could easily pick it up and place it to our desired position. We had long ago roofed our factory so the crane could only lift the equipment from the trailer and place it just near the entrance or else destroy the entire roof structure to take it our desired position of operation. We have contacted several people to help us solve this and we are happy to have received an idea of using a pulley system along with thick round steel bars placed on the bottom of the machine. This will easily pull the machine to our desired place of operation at very little cost.

A lot of the things you plan for sometimes backfire and some of these hurdles are enough to easily make you give up. But the joy of succeeding should be enough to take you through such times. For us, we know this is just the beginning and we are continuously on the lookout for other future challenges. Our attitude is “bring it on”. Our mission remains clear, tackling the looming waste problem in Kenya in a sustainable way and no challenge will stop us. At least for now!

Willemijn Nagel's picture

Super cool Kevin! I am curious if you got them up and running by now or where there any more hurdles to take. You became a champion in taking hurdles. Congratulations with your perseverence for all of this. 

Greetings, Willemijn

Kevin Mureithi's picture

Hi Willemijn, 

We are completing our workshop and soon after the suppliers will come commission and train us on how to use the equipment. We should be all set by end by mid July. Will keep you updated here on the community. 

Best wishes, 


Fohla MOUFTAOU's picture

Hi Kevin,

What a struggle! Logistic tasks are always a sum of unexpected events, whatever your plan is, reality will be different. You will manage along the way !

Well done!


Christopher Dodzo Armando's picture

Hi Kevin.

Its Chris from Mozambique. I need your help concerning Plastic fantastic. I have seen your visit to Plastic Fantastic on Youtube with  Cheryl Van Kempen and Mamadou.

Great work guys, keep the energy up.

I also want to bring the innovation to Mozambique.