Impact 2014: Recycling plastic trash

Many people thought Ms Lorna Rutto was out of her mind when she quit her well-paying bank job in 2009 to pursue her teenage hobby - moulding plastic into ornaments and selling them to friends.

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Using her personal savings and winnings from a business proposal writing competition, the 30-year-old set up a small factory - based at the Kariobangi Light Industry in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi - to turn plastic into landscaping products.

In March 2010, she co-founded EcoPost, a firm which uses plastic waste to manufacture poles for fencing, landscaping, road signage and construction of small structures such as kennels and poultry sheds - turning plastic trash into cash.

Today, EcoPost recycles about 770kg of plastic waste daily, or 20 tonnes every month, churning out 100 poles every day, which is equivalent to saving 10 mature trees.

Canadian Forestry Association data shows that EcoPost has saved the equivalent of 141ha of forest from last year's production of over 24,000 plastic posts.

"Recycling plastic to provide an alternative to timber, thus preventing the cutting down of trees, is greener," says Ms Rutto.

DAVID HERBLING/THE NATION (KENYA)