Youth Empowerment through Recycling of Textile Products in Kenya.

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Kimemia, Millicent, Tumuti, Dinah, and Oigo, Elizabeth


Global statistics show that growth of apparel market from 2012 to 2017 is on upward trend. It is thus estimated that apparel market increased by approximately 5.46 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Fast fashion has thus taken Centre stage with improved global economic levels. Consequently, millions of metric tons of used clothes and textiles are available annually especially from the developed nations. While the majority of these clothes end up in landfills, a considerable size is exported to markets in developing countries. When the apparels and clothing are worn out, they cause environmental pollution on disposal. Textiles particularly present problems in landfill as synthetic products do not decompose, whilst woolen garments decompose and produce methane, which contributes to global warming. However, recycling of these apparels and textiles can be used not only to solve the problems of environmental pollution, but also to provide an economic opportunity for millions of jobless youths in the developing world as well as clearing and forwarding from our houses. In Kenya, recycling industry is developing fast. This study sought to establish ways through which the youth in Kenya could take advantage of this large resource to create employment, the source of used clothes used as raw materials in the recycling industry, items made from recycled clothes and finally the movement of these products in the market. Results showed that the recycling industry in Kenya is dominated by handcrafts, skills men and women and that they are mainly done on small scale. Most of the enterprises sampled in this study were family owned and employed less than 20 people. Items produced included Ciondos (local Kenyan baskets), dusters, moppers, pupils’ school bags and floor mats. These products are sold in local supermarkets and open-air markets by vendors around the cities and major towns in the Kenya. Prices depended on quality, size of items and target market. Most enterprises reported making between Ksh. 20,000 and Ksh. 40,000 monthly depending on production. It is recommended that the government through the ministry of youth should empower entrepreneurs through training on new technology, financing and provision of tools and equipment to support recycling industry.

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