Watamu Community Solid Waste Management and Recycling Enterprises

Preserving Watamu’s beaches and boosting community welfare through recycling waste
2011 SEED Award Winner Waste Management Watamu, Kenya

The initiative deals with solid waste pollution in Watamu Marine Park and Reserve beaches and nearby villages. By combining environmental welfare and conservation tasks with community empowerment, employment and alternative income generation, the initiative sets an example for community-based waste management. The initiative creates income opportunities for the community through employment and waste recycling. The income generated from plastic recycling operations helps the initiative to remain operational and sustainable. In addition, art and other interesting objects produced from the waste collected will be sold at tourist outlets. Plastic waste – currently harvested free of charge in the project area – can be processed and sold to recycling businesses throughout Kenya. Local firms support the initiative through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) sponsorship activities, enabling community members to turn plastic waste into a saleable commodity. 

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

Watamu reduces plastic pollution in marine protected areas and helps local waste collectors generate income through an enterprise that sells items made from waste materials.
  • Increasing the level of weekly employment for at least 40 women and young people, and provide full-time employment for five waste recycling operators.
  • Providing arts and crafts training to 20 women and members of youth groups, improving their income-generating opportunities.
  • Recycling over 70% of plastic waste in Watamu and provide regular weekly waste collection along 7km of Marine Park beaches.
  • Significantly reducing plastic pollution in marine protected areas and help protect sea turtle nesting habitats.


  • Generating weekly income for 45 community waste collectors and operators as well as 20 producers of arts and crafts.
  • Setting up a pro-poor small business enterprises selling art and other interesting items made from waste materials.


This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

The Watamu Marine Association (WMA) manages and coordinates all project operations and provides in kind support for project activities.

The Voice of Watamu Women’s Group promotes community empowerment and will be active in arts and crafts production.

Hemingways Resort sponsors community waste collection and supports beach waste management

Ocean Sports Resort assists with beach-cleaning events, hosts fund-raising activities and sponsors community waste collection bins.

The Turtle Bay Beach Club sponsors and supports the initiative, providing facilities and links to the tourism sector.

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