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The alternative building products space is a relatively new industry and consists of a myriad of opportunities. Nairobi-based startup Gjenge Makers, founded by Nzambi Matee, is a sustainable and affordable alternative building products company producing bricks from recycled waste plastic and sand.
Gjenge Makers is based in Kenya, where plastic waste pollution is a severe problem, just like in many parts of the world. Tired of being on the sidelines, Matee decided to create a solution for commercial plastic waste which won Gjenge Makers the Young Champions of the Earth Award.
With a background in materials engineering, she designed bricks made of waste plastic and sand, compressed and heated to create a stronger, light-weight, and more sustainable alternative to concrete bricks. Gjenge Makers currently produces about 1,500 bricks a day and has recycled over 20 metric tons of plastic wastes. Matee says the bricks are 5 – 7 times stronger than concrete bricks.
Gjenge currently makes paving blocks for residential and commercial uses and has plans to produce building blocks. And intend to scale their solution beyond Kenya and, eventually, beyond Africa.