Youth should embrace collecting, sorting, reusing and recycling waste to create jobs

Victor Ooko mixing different plastic material and recycled waste to detect metals so that they can be removed from that waste the process of converting the waste into Eco posts. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

Young people should embrace collecting, sorting, reusing and recycling all forms of waste to create jobs

About 39 per cent of the Kenyan youth are unemployed, yet each year over a million university students enter the job market.

In a crippling global economy and high inflation in many countries across the globe, job opportunities have become adamant.

However, there lies an opportunity in what others perceive as "waste". In this new era, waste is the new gold.

An untapped resource that can create millions of jobs if well utilised and capitalised on by private sector with assistance from the Government on policy formulation and implementation.

Kenya is wealthy in terms of the waste it produces; on average we produce about 22,000 tonnes of waste on a daily basis.

This waste can be collected, sorted and graded then it can be recycled or remanufactured into worthy products that can be sold in our markets.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), acircular economy entails markets that give incentives to reusing products, rather than scrapping them and then extracting new resources.

In such an economy, all forms of waste, such as clothes, scrap metal and obsolete electronics, are returned to the economy or used more efficiently.

This is a great way to create jobs, from the waste pickers to the workers in the recycling sites to the last-mile distribution of eco-products created from waste.

The waste industry also helps in the healing of our planet. By ensuring organic waste is not left open in the air, it prevents the production of harmful gases such as methane released into the atmosphere which leads to respiratory infections and global warming.

This industry will open doors for innovation and social entrepreneurship for the youth to create livelihoods as well as restore the planet.

The youth should innovate solutions for different forms of waste, both biodegradable and non-biodegradable to generate income opportunities for themselves and others in society.

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