‘World’s first’ recycled container garment factory takes shape in Kenya

Kenya has broken ground on the “world's first” garment factory constructed using recycled shipping containers, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Trade Catalyst Africa (TCA).

Isatou Ndure May 29 2024

Already under construction in the Athi River Export Processing Zone (EPZ), the recycled container factory is expected to be completed by December 2024 and could become a model for eco-friendly industrial design.

The project's design incorporates recycled shipping containers as the primary building material, reducing waste and minimising the environmental impact of construction. The factory will also harness solar energy and implement rainwater harvesting systems, further enhancing its sustainability credentials.

Once operational, the recycled shipping container factory is expected to save an estimated 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and conserve 1,000 cubic meters of water per year.

The 5,000 sqm recycled container factory was funded by a $530,000 investment from the USAID and a $1.3m loan from TCA.

“This investment presents a great opportunity to build scalable and sustainable industrial space for garment manufacturing and symbolizes our dedication to environmental stewardship,” said Duncan Onyango, CEO of Trade Catalyst Africa. “By pioneering this unique industrial space, we are setting a new standard for the garment industry, positioning Kenya and Africa as leaders in sustainable manufacturing.”

The global textiles market, valued at approximately $1.5tn in 2020, presents significant growth opportunities for Kenya. The recycled container factory aligns with Kenya's vision to transform into a newly industrialised, middle-income country.

By adopting sustainable practices in its garment and textile production Kenya can enhance its competitiveness in the global market and boost its export potential, while creating job opportunities for women and providing training opportunities in the local community.

Naeem Pasta, CEO of Modular Real Estate EPZ Limited, a subsidiary of Container Technology Limited (CONTECH) and a joint venture partner in the project, added: “This project showcases how innovative thinking and environmental responsibility can coexist, leading to economic growth and a healthier planet. We are proud to be part of this pioneering effort.”

This news comes after, the president of the Republic of Kenya William Samoei Ruto shared that the East African region had entered into an $11m partnership deal with the USAID in April 2024 to boost the textile and apparel sub-sector to a new level.

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