Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution Programme

SMEP funds pilots for circular and innovative technologies in Kenya

In 2022, SMEP launched a procurement call with the aim of piloting pollution mitigation solutions for Kenya and Uganda.  One of the key criteria for selection was the ability to demonstrate a sustainable business case for the selected solution once any barriers to implementation had been overcome. These barriers could arise due to the unproven nature of the technologies in the regional context. As a result manufactures and solution providers may face difficulties when it comes to raising capital. Additionally, affordability challenges or lack of technical capacity and know-how could also act as barriers.

The procurement process was concluded in early 2023. The selected projects will be implementing solutions to divert and process biomass and organic wastes from the food and beverage sector, and piloting water treatment technologies across a range of sectors, in Kenya. 

More details on the two primary categories for the grants follow:

  1. Solutions to address organic waste: The pilots projects that are implementing solutions to tackle organic waste are well aligned to circular economy principles, which involve repurposing waste as inputs for new value chains. Food and beverages manufacturers in Kenya typically dispose of waste through composting and landfilling (most common), recycling, and incineration. Manufacturers often resort to dumping and burning organic waste due to the costs of composting and landfilling.  However, this practice poses both environmental and health concerns, and results in missed economic opportunities as much of this waste can be repurposed potential value through sorting and treating technologies. While many established waste-to-value and waste-to-energy technologies exist, Kenya has seen limited adoption, due to either a lack of awareness, lack of technical capacity, or an affordability concern, hampered by high cost of capital to invest in the region. The chosen pilot projects were carefully selected for their potential to offer viable and sustainable business models for waste management, while also contributing to wider economic opportunities.  The pilot projects are anticipated to collectively intercept over 20 000 tonnes of organic waste per year, from landfill or burning.
  1. Water treatment technologies to address water pollution. SMEP has approved funding for two distinct pilot projects focused on addressing water pollution. One of the projects takes place in a plastics recycling facility and aims to improve overall environmental performance and resource efficiency. The other initiative follows a programmatic approach and tests interventions to improve water quality affected by industrial activity in the Nairobi River Catchment. The uptake of water treatment technology remains low, but the SMEP pilots expect to show business cases for uptake based on improved efficiency, reuse and improved compliance.  In future, uptake is expected to be driven by emerging regulatory frameworks across East Africa incorporating policy incentives that encourage industries to adopt wastewater treatment solutions while new legislation simultaneously places the burden for wastewater treatment on the producing industry.

SMEP will be providing funding in the order of GBP3 million for 6 pilot projects, 3 of which are currently in their inception phase.  The programme is committed to supporting these projects and in gaining insight into waste valorisation and the adoption of novel technologies in new settings. Programme impacts are important considerations for SMEP – these include improved social equity and creation of economic opportunities and pollution and greenhouse gas mitigation outcomes.  These will be tracked and reported on at regular intervals.

Please visit our website for more information on the selected projects, here.

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