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Protecting forests by manufacturing an alternative product to timber from recycled waste plastics

We recycle waste plastics and transform them into plastic lumbers to curb deforestation and climate change.

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Explain your project idea in two sentences.

We use an innovative plastic extrusion technology to transform post consumer waste plastics into durable, termite resistant and long lasting plastic lumbers used for building and construction.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

EcoAct Tanzania, social enterprise addressing the challenges of plastic waste and deforestation.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

For the past 18 months we have managed to withdraw over 4.5 million kg of plastic waste from the environment, used those plastic waste to manufacture plastic lumbers, hence saved estimated 350 acres of forest that would have been cut and same time preventing 2,500,000 kg of CO2 emissions.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

Our country generates 7,800 tons of waste every day (38% being plastic waste) which end up in streets, landfills and in oceans. And every year we lose over 400,000 hectares of forest reserve and natural forests around Mount Kilimanjaro due to increase in building and construction activities.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Establishment of 6 Waste collection banks, 2 waste collection centers in each district, to enable enough collection of waste plastics and increase production to 400 plastic lumbers per day to meet the current market demand and provide job to more than 400 youths. Production of other building materials from recycled waste plastics which we have prototype including roofing tiles, pavement and bore hole covers and expand our markets in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

Christian Mwijage - MD with background in Business Management and Marketing, Bernard Ernest - COO with Background in Environmental & Chemical Engineering, Madam Elineca Ndowo CFO - Background in Project Planning and Finance.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Business Development/Partnerships

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Learn to measure and grow project results

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

We measure on how many waste plastics has been withdrawn from the environment and prevented to end up into oceans, we also measure the number of plastic lumbers which have been sold (for every 25 plastic lumber sold, we save a fully matured red cedar tree), We also measure the number of families get access to medical insurance on exchange with their domestic plastic waste and also we measure the number of job opportunities created.

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

The project proposal has not changed, how ever some feedback from customers and beneficiaries need to be taken into consideration. Customers are advising in using of the hardware shops as the selling points ( which need us to partner with main hardware shops in the centers so as to make it easy for the products delivery to customers ) and also have plastic lumbers of different colors.

We are a registered social enterprise established to tackle the challenges of post consumer plastic pollution, waste management, deforestation and climate change.

We use an innovative plastic extrusion technology to recycle post consumer plastic waste and transform them into eco-friendly plastic lumber. The plastic lumber is an affordable alternative to timber, which reduces the need for building material manufactured from wood, helping to preserve forests and cut down on deforestation and effects of climate change. Plastic lumber made from recycled plastics are ideal for building, furniture making and construction activities.


Solid waste management is one of the environmental problems that most African cities are struggling to manage. As the number of residents in most cities is increasing so is the production of solid waste. Very unfortunate, effective environmental and sustainable measures to manage the waste are lacking. Tanzania generates about 4,800 tones waste every day of which 38% is plastic waste. Plenty of solid wastes can be found everywhere within the city and round homes. While both the local administrators and environmental legal bodies  understands the health risks involved, the lack of financial and technological capability has left the city residents grasping for help. Landfill and burning is the most common method used in our capital city.

On the other hand, we saw our forests are fast depleting, the growing demand for timber in building and construction activities was putting a lot of pressure on the country’s forests (Our country losses an average of 400,000 hectares of forest every year).  If nothing was done quickly, our country would suffer irreparable environmental damage. lucky we realized that If only we could produce an alternative product to timber that was strong, longer lasting, cheaper and environmentally sustainable, we could definitely profit from the profitable timber market while helping to save forests and same time reducing carbon emission, because one kilogram of plastic waste saves 2.5 kg of carbon emissions, and for every 10 plastic lumber produced, one tree is saved.

Our project Objectives:

-Reduce environmental pollution by recycling and transforming post consumer waste plastic from landfills into building hardware (plastic lumbers)

-Reduce Slum proliferation by providing affordable building material to developers

-Curb deforestation by providing alternative product in replacement of timber

-Providing an urban waste management solution for cleaner and healthier environment.

-Reduce the effects of climate change, by reducing deforestation we conserve our forests which helps removing CO2 from the atmosphere hence mitigating climate change.

- Increase community access to medical facilities, as we allow the community to exchange their plastic waste with medical insurance coverage.

- Advocate and promote awareness to the community, builders and construction industry on the importance of used products made from recycled waste plastics.

-Create Job opportunities to youths in marginalized communities

More details:

Explain your idea

We use and innovative plastic extrusion technology, to recycle these unwanted plastic waste that are dumped and disposed everywhere littering the streets and clogging sewers and encroaching people’s homes into a less expensive, durable, good looking and environmentally friendly plastic lumber. The plastic lumbers are normally made in 10ft on average and shaped either round or square and are ideal products for building, construction, fencing poles and furniture making. Unlike timber our plastic lumber, they do not rot, are termite resistant, are water proof and last longer than timber, does not entertain growth of mound , do not splinter, outlast timber in application, can be assembled, drilled and nailed as easily as timber.

Who Benefits?

The project benefits more than 156 families, from three different districts of our capital city, beneficiaries includes youth and women from marginalized communities, they have access to employment opportunities and access to small loans for them to establish the waste collection centers and sell the waste plastics to us, Also the beneficiaries includes the 43 families who are currently on “Garbage Insurance Program”, This is a Health Insurance program which uses waste plastics as a financing tool. With this program, the community is able to pay for clinical services by using garbage as payment to an insurance scheme. The project encourages the community to mobilize their own unused resources to improve their access to health services. But our three year business plan ensures the withdraw of over 3.5 million kilograms of plastic from the environment and use them to manufacture plastic lumbers which saves an estimated 250 acres of forest that would have been cut.

How is your idea unique?

We are using our natural innovated plastic extrusion technology called “Waxy 2 technology” the technology enables the transformation of sorted post consumer waste plastics into durable, long lasting, termite resistant and water proof plastic lumbers for building, construction and fencing activities. The plastic lumbers are normally made in 10ft on average and shaped either round or square. Our innovative technology ensures our manufactured plastic lumbers lasts more than 40 years without replacement whether used in sunny areas, marine or in water applications.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

I am a social entrepreneur, passionate about environment, recycling and green living with a strong background in business and marketing. I am a founder of EcoAct Tanzania a for‐profit social enterprise that recycles post consumer waste plastics and transform them into plastic lumbers, which is a durable and affordable alternative to timber. I conceived the idea in 2016 with the aim of creating a sustainable solution to the growing urban plastic waste and the increasing deforestation rates. We are the first East African Start up to introduce and launch the “Garbage Medical Health insurance” – a social health insurance program where people give us their plastic garbage and we give them one year Medical Insurance Coverage. April 2016, our project won the GIST Award (Global innovation through science and technology Award) in South Africa and also in October 2016 we won the African Rethink Awards (Organized by Land of Africa Business in France) and in February 2017 We won the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017. Awards 1. Global Innovation Through Science and Technology 2. AFIF Entreprenuership Awards 2017

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.

Attachments (1)

User Map Experience - EcoAct Tanzania.pdf

User Map Experience - EcoAct Tanzania


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