40 “Worke” waste paper collection points to hit the streets of Addis

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Penda Manufacturing PLC will launch its new paper collection system called “Worke” (my gold) last Saturday at 40 locations in Addis Ababa. The new collection system includes bikes with collection carts, and will reward two birr for every kilo of paper provided by anyone in the city.
Penda was established in 2014 by Norwegian Marie and a team of investors with experience from the Scandinavian pulp & paper industry. In a partnership with the Addis Ababa City Administration it has to date created full-time jobs for 90 individuals, in addition to extra income creation for around 4,300 micro-enterprise waste collectors.
The company regularly collects waste paper and cartons from more than 130 factories and offices and has started an educational programme and recycling in collaboration with 182 schools and 220,000 students.
“A shocking fact is that more than 200,000 tons of paper and carton waste is dumped at landfills, burned or simply left as garbage on the streets every year inspired the investment idea,” Marie told Capital.
Ethiopia is a country which imports more than 100 million USD worth of raw materials for the paper industry every year. The current rate of using local recycled raw materials stands at around 5% relative to 15% in Kenya. “Instead of using scarce USD resources to import pulp and paper products, we need to start using the resources we already have in the country,” she said.
Realising a “circular economy” for waste paper in Ethiopia is an opportunity for massive import substitution, significant job creation in collection and manufacturing, cheaper paper and packaging products, as well as significant environmental benefits for the city. However, building such a recycling system at scale is a massive undertaking. It requires large infrastructure investments, strong logistics, and massive awareness building among everyday consumers.”
In addition to continuing its investments in collection infrastructure and manufacturing of quality raw materials for the local paper mills, Penda is just about to launch its own affordable exercise books for school children, with production expected to start this coming January.
People who deliver waste paper to “Worke” can also chose to donate the reward to charity. In collaboration with several local Rotaract Clubs, all donations will be used to provide free exercise books for the needy.
“We want to encourage all residents of Addis Ababa to help us make the city clean, beautiful, and environmentally sustainable. And most importantly, to help the access of affordable exercise books and other paper products in Ethiopia,” said Marie.
Penda will have the capacity to produce more than 10 million notebooks per year at its site in Akaki Kality Sub City.