Varsity students turning plastic waste into pavestones

“We are reintroducing the plastic in new forms that are harmless to the environment,” said David Kinzuzi,  23. The varsity student, along with his colleague, Rosette Muhoza, 21, say they are keen on introducing cheap building materials that are environment friendly.

Muhoza is an undergraduate student of business management while Kinzuzi studies healthcare management at Kepler.

While Rwanda banned plastic bags in 2008, the country still grapples with single use plastics like mineral water bottles, disposable plastic cups and plates.

In fact, the Ministry of Environment is considering revising the 2008 legislation in a bid to restrict single use plastics.

While this would appear too ambitious an attempt by the Government, given the fact that there are no alternative packaging materials readily available for the private sector to adopt, Muhoza and Kinzuzi thought ahead to fix the puzzle and reduce the damage that could result from such unavoidable plastics.

They teamed up to form My Green Home Rwanda, an enterprise keen to promote green growth and environmental excellence through recycling plastic waste into eco-friendly pavers.

“Our goal is to see a free plastic world but also to reintroduce the plastic that has been wasted and dumped at our landfills,” Muhoza told The New Times last week.

“We are welcoming the banning of plastic because they are harmful, but on our side we are reducing the effects of the plastic we have already produced and dumped,” Kinzuzi added.

Their idea was born from Kepler where they pursued a course called Challenge Based Learning (CBL).

Under the course students are given challenges to solve in and around Kigali. Theirs was on waste management.

“When we carried out research, we found that there was a lot of plastic that is dumped in the Nduba Landfill with a large amount not being recycled. They would then end in our farmland or our water bodies and this would affect the whole ecosystem, leading to various health issues and global warming,” Kinzuzi explained.

 That’s how they founded My Green Home Rwanda, which transforms plastic waste into construction materials.

“We are focusing on construction materials because we saw there was a market in the infrastructure field but also the need of providing affordable and durable materials while contributing to building a green city and a circular economy,” Muhoza added. 

How they do it

“We collect plastic from the dumpsite in partnership with waste collection companies, then we do our production process mixing the melted plastic with sand and we sell them to the market around Kigali,” Muhoza said.   

The two students have already won two grants totalling $10,000 as to advance their project.

During the recently concluded Africa Green Growth Summit, My Green Home Rwanda showcased their business model to over 3000 delegates in attendance.

Currently they are based in Kagugu, Batsinda, Gasabo District.

“We are currently working with a team of consultants, Caro and Ray from the US, founders of Green Bucket Babes that is working on zero fast food waste, and their contribution has been a lot because of the different expertise that they have and sharing it with us to help us grow,” Kinzuzi said.

He added, “We are in the process of machine design, working with the City of Kigali, REMA, UNICEF Rwanda and now GGGI to see how we can start the production process.”

While pavestone prices on the market differ depending on colours and producers, ranging from Rwf8000 to Rwf12000 per square metre, she said that their pavestones won’t go for less or above Rwf8500 per square metre.

“When we increase our production capacity that’s when we will reduce the prices,” Muhoza said.

They also plan on forging partnerships with construction companies so that they can increase their market shar.

Kinzuzi attributes their innovation to the prevailing positive political environment that supports business.

“Rwanda has been really supportive to young entrepreneurs that are establishing business. The country has also been a great champion of green growth and all of those factors contribute a lot toward a conducive environment that we need to thrive as young entrepreneurs,” he said.