Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

We will deliver a triple win for people living in poverty: Improved health, improved environment and income generation

What’s being launched:

A project to collect plastic waste and recycle it into brooms and paving blocks, thus creating green jobs


The project will benefit all 18 neighbourhoods (quartiers) in the Kalamu area of Kinshasa, the capital of DRC. These neighbourhoods are home to 270,000 people.


Once known as ‘Kin la belle’ (‘Kinshasa the beautiful’), the capital of DRC is now nicknamed ‘Kin la poubelle’ or ‘Kin the bin’. It’s estimated that the 17 million inhabitants of the city produce 9,000 tons of waste a day, but there is no professional waste management system. The European Union used to lead a waste disposal programme in the city but funding stopped in 2015.

Unmanaged waste is creating a major problem for people’s health and for the environment. Plastic waste pollutes streams, drainage systems and the city’s 14 small rivers, and it ends up in the Congo River, and, ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. Clogged drains and sewers compound problems caused by flooding: they are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and vermin, causing diseases such as malaria. Open burning of waste creates respiratory disease.


This project will:

  • Recruit and hire individuals from the community who will be responsible for collecting plastic waste from local households, and provide them with the necessary equipment.
  • Advertise new plastic waste collection points in the community, and provide households with a dedicated bin for collecting plastic waste through the week.
  • Train people to turn plastic bottles into marketable products eg paving blocks and brooms.
  • Organise voluntary ‘community action groups’ to do litter-picks of rubbish more generally and raise awareness of the impact of waste on health and the environment.
  • Lobby the government to implement existing legislation which prohibits the import and sale of specific plastics, and to pass additional legislation which further restricts the production and consumption of plastic in Kinshasa.

The project in numbers

  • More than 3,850 of the area’s most vulnerable people will be trained in how to collect or recycle plastics, and will then be paid for their work. Of these 3850, 84 people will be trained to make paving blocks and brooms out of recycled plastic.
  • Trainees will be men, women, boys and girls, and will include 32 adults and children living with a disability.
  • More than 171,000 people across Kalamu commune, Kinshasa, will benefit from a cleaner, healthier living environment.
  • 702 tonnes of plastic waste will be collected and recycled.
  • 950,000 paving blocks will be produced and sold (equivalent to 35,000 m²), and 22,500 brooms.