When Diana Mong’are became tired of the ever-growing trash piles in her community, she decided to do something about it. She set out to raise 10,000 Kenyan Shillings (about $120) from her neighbors, family and friends and used the money to purchase large rolls of black and clear plastic bags.
With her new acquisition, Diana went around persuading her neighbors and members of her community to purchase the plastic bags and encouraged them to separate their trash into biodegradable waste and recyclables. Diana hired a worker to gather the recyclable waste from members of the community and she personally negotiated the sale of the waste to a local recycling company. With the proceeds from her recycling deals, Diana acquired more plastic bags and became an evangelist for environmental conservation in her community. But she went further still. Her next stop was collecting wood chips and sawdust from small scale furniture makers as well as rotting vegetables from market women and selling them to local poultry and vegetable farmers. In most African countries, small-scale farmers use sawdust to preserve the storage life of potatoes and other crops. Diana realized that these farmers were usually eager and excited to purchase this waste from her. She was in business.