The FlipFlopi Project
The Flipflopi Project has established a first-of-its-kind plastic waste Material Recovery Facility and a Heritage Boat building training centre in the UNESCO heritage site of Lamu, Kenya. Together with key partners, they are tackling marine ecosystem health and sustainability challenges by combining indigenous knowledge with modern innovation by constructing traditional sailing and motorised vessels, as well as artisanal furniture from plastic waste. The project is called Mitigating Plastic Pollution through Heritage Boat Building.
Community waste collector network established: Since the beginning of Phase 2, they have established a collector’s network of approximately 700 people, and collected 172 tonnes of waste plastic in the first 15 months of operation that is being used as feedstock for the manufacturing centre – the first recovery and recycling facility of its kind in the entire county.
Continual waste-plastic product innovation: In the past year, the team have created 40+ product lines of artisanal furniture and 2 artisanal boats made from recycled plastic timber and continues to research and develop systems for improved recycling processes including hard to recycle plastics.
Heritage boatbuilding training centre: 18 students have graduated from the centre, and the course has now been formally incorporated into Lamu Polytechnic College as one of the courses offered to students.
Community buy-in and business development is key: financial support from SMEP will allow time required to create a sustainable model and inform policy.
East African advocacy efforts on single-use plastic (SUPs): FlipFlopi and partners including ALN, UNCTAD and the ICF recently the first East Africa Regional workshop on SUPs for legislators which convened environmental experts, and representatives from the private and civil society sectors in Nairobi, Kenya, to deliberate on the impact of SUPs on the environment and discuss current legislation in the region. 20 Members of Parliament representing all 7 East African Countries attended. Harmonized legislation was identified as a crucial step towards addressing plastic pollution.