Stemming the tideof wastein a polluted river.


Tackling waste through education, collaboration, and hands-on action.

Nairobi, Kenya

The Dow initiative, Project Butterfly, is helping innovative solutions take flight to fight Africa’s plastic waste challenge. In Nairobi, Kenya, the program funds and facilitates waste clean-up activities, education campaigns, and new ways to incentivize recycling. Just as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, the project is reshaping mindsets, communities, and plastic waste in areas plagued by pollution and poverty.

By funding and facilitating recycling education and awareness campaigns, waste clean-up activities, and new alliances, Dow empowers local grassroots organizations and forges crucial collaborations to change attitudes, transform behavior, and inspire solutions.

Despite Nairobi’s daunting amount of unmanaged garbage, inroads are being made. Project Butterfly clean-up events and recycling education sessions help residents understand the impact of uncontrolled waste, spotlight ways to reverse the trend, and build enthusiasm for a cleaner future.

Waste pickers are invisible heroes. Instead of being marginalized, they are now seen as human beings doing honorable jobs.

– Kieran Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Mr. Green Africa

Dow resources and technical assistance have enabled the local recycler Mr. Green Africa and child development NGO ChildFund to catalyze change. In communities where no refuse pickup forces garbage into rivers and informal dumps, school programs are educating a new generation of sustainability-conscious citizens. Rather than having to dispose of waste in the environment, bins and collection centers now provide a place for waste to be dropped. Training and equipment for waste pickers makes sorting materials more effective. Sorting centers allow collectors to bring plastic waste in for payment and then send it on to recycling centers and processed for reuse.

As a result, livelihoods are improving, perceptions of waste pickers are transforming, and a new mindset that plastic waste is too valuable to be lost to the environment is permeating communities.

Across all efforts, teamwork has been key. Everyone from local school children and trash collectors to government officials and international development groups are collaborating, innovating, and accelerating solutions to create a cleaner future for Nairobi’s environment, families, and communities.