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2023-03-03, 15:49

Starlinger: First PET Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling Line in Kenya

Around 1,334,000 tons of plastic become waste in Kenya each year. With the new Starlinger PET bottle-to-bottle recycling line T3 will be able to convert used PET bottles in a valuable secondary resource for new bottles and textiles - (Photo: T3).
T3 (EPZ) Limited, a member of Megh Group, ordered a Starlinger “recoStar” PET bottle-to-bottle recycling line for its new plant in Athi River, Kenya. With this project, T3 aims to contribute to the establishment of a circular economy with a positive impact on both the environment and the society in the country.

As the manufacturer further communicates, Megh Group company T3 (EPZ) Limited is going to install the first PET recycling system for bottle-grade rPET and resin in Kenya and Eastern Africa, a Starlinger “recoStar PET 165 HC iV+” recycling line, in Athi River just outside Nairobi. The food-safe rPET will be used in bottle preform production and for polyester fibre production in the textile and garment industries as well as for the group’s automotive trims and textile business Megh Singh Cushion Makers.

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T3 sources the post-consumer PET bottles for recycling through various collection strategies. With thorough collection and sorting methods and processing on the FDA and EFSA-approved Starlinger recycling system T3 ensures that the produced rPET resin will be of high quality to meet the standards of global brand owners such as Coca-Cola.

In T3’s Athi River facility the input material is thoroughly sorted before further processing. The FDA and EFSA-approved Starlinger PET recycling process ensures safe reuse of the recycled PET in bottle-to-bottle applications - (Photo: T3).
“As we were trying to develop a project to produce our own textiles for the automotive sector, we realized that there is a big need for recycled materials in the textile and packaging industry”, explained Gurpreet Kaur Kenth, COO of T3. “Given the global shift from virgin to recycled materials with increasing consumer awareness and demand for sustainable products, there is growing need for recycled polyester in Kenya. We see the opportunity of closing the loop in Kenya through bottle-to-bottle recycling and have a number of reasons why we started this project. The main one is the impact we can have both on the environment and the local communities. Recycling is one of the most effective ways to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. When bottles are recycled, we are reducing the need for new raw materials. This helps conserve non-renewable resources such as oil and natural gas, which are used to make plastic. At the same time, bottle collection provides a source of income for the informal sector of waste pickers.”

Environment and community
The plastics recycling industry in Kenya is still in its early stages and faces challenges such as lack of input material and infrastructure, low levels of investment, and limited access to market information. T3 has developed an extensive collection system throughout the country with the aim of building the right incentives for waste collectors, who are extremely marginalised. “Our social mission is to ensure that no one is left behind as we develop the idea of a circular economy in Kenya”, said Ikreet Kenth, CTO of T3. “Uplifting the informal sector through the impactful methods that we use to collect the plastic waste enhances livelihoods by converting waste into a tradeable commodity, forming new trading networks and businesses, and generating employment. In addition, the reduction in the need for new raw materials helps to reduce environmental pollution and the carbon footprint, and to conserve resources for future generations.”

About the Megh Group
Megh Group is a family-owned group of companies based in Nairobi, Kenya, and is currently being operated by the third generation. The first company of the group, Megh Singh Cushion Makers Ltd., was incorporated in 1961 and today is a leading manufacturer of automotive and trim components for all types of vehicles and motorcycles in Kenya and Eastern Africa. The youngest group member, T3 (EPZ) Limited, was founded to tackle the three main problems Kenya is facing today: poverty, unemployment, and plastic pollution. T3 will provide recycled PET for use in bottle-to-bottle, yarn, and textile production.

More information: www.starlinger.com, themeghgroup.com

Starlinger & Co. GmbH, Vienna, Austria


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