BY Dollita Okine, 3:30pm March 15, 2024,

How this Kenyan woman’s company is using plastic waste to make solar-powered freezers  

Purity Gakuo, the Chief Executive Officer of Kuza Freezer in Kenya, cleverly recycles plastic waste components. Photo Credit: Purity Gakuo, LinkedIn, Africa News

Purity Gakuo, the Chief Executive Officer of Kuza Freezer in Kenya, cleverly recycles plastic waste components to build freezers.

She told Africa News, “Kuza Freezer is a youth-led company based in Mombasa, Kenya. And we are focused on providing cold storage solutions to small-scale businesses in the fish value chain and enabling them to sustainably improve their income and reduce post-harvest losses.”

In its three years of operation, the company has supplied more than 350 machines to clients, which include ice salespeople, fish traders, and poultry and milk vendors.

Gakuo shared that a range of goods are made, including ones that can be installed on-site and static freezers for use on fishing boats. Customers can choose to pay in installments, and the freezers are available for Ksh 100,000 ($700).

The plastic materials used in making the freezers are collected from the beach and sold to the company whose workers turn them into pellets and then mold them into cold storage units.

Every freezer is equipped with a solar-powered battery that can be charged in two hours, providing up to seven hours of operation. 

The CEO of Nikogreen, a sustainability consulting firm with headquarters in Nairobi, stated that the innovative freezers address the major problems of plastic waste and food security. “Food losses come about because we produce food which are perishable, but then we do not have enough infrastructure to deliver that food to the end consumers in time while it is fresh.” 

Otieno concluded, “Secondly, we have a lot of issues of waste and especially plastic waste, which is choking our environment. By them taking up this waste, recycling it, and using it to make the external body of the freezers, also addresses the challenge of this waste.” 

New research by the charity Tearfund shows that plastic waste is “spiraling out of control” across Africa. It says if nothing is done about the situation, the region is projected to end up with 116m tonnes of plastic waste annually by 2060 — six times more than the 18m tonnes of waste produced in 2019. 

The team at Kuza Freezer also makes a 70-liter freezer that is designed to be mounted on the rear of a motorcycle; this freezer is particularly useful in the successful delivery of fish. 

A tracking device is fitted to every unit by the company, allowing it to monitor the condition of its equipment. Kuza Freezer also provides free installation and training for customers.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 18, 2024


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