Welcome to this month’s edition where we celebrate Urban October. In this feature, we highlight the Best Practice, Clean City and Green Economy which involves a community based waste collection system to recycle and manufacture quality Eco-construction products. Established by Regeneration Environmental Services, this initiative provides an economic demand for waste plastic which in turn cleans the environment, creates employment and improves the look of coastal cities.

This is a month of exciting meetings and discussions on urban issues and sustainable development. Urban October starts and ends with two flagship events - World Habitat Day and World Cities Day. World Habitat Day kicks off the month long celebrations on Monday 1 October under this year’s theme Municipal Solid Waste Management.

Each month, we feature one of the Best Practices winners from the 11th Cycle of the Dubai International Award endorsed by UN-Habitat and Dubai Municipality. We hope that these best practices will inform and inspire you on initiatives that are making effective interventions to improve the lives of urban residents around the globe. The 11th cycle comprised of the following categories:

Name of Individual: Sam Ngaruiya (founder of Regeneration Environmental Services)

Country: Kenya

WINNER of the Personal Award for contribution to urban economy and municipal finance

This Award category aims to recognize an individual that has made outstanding contributions to the development of urban economy and municipal finance, working for local authorities, and other related organizations. The individual’s work has contributed to enhancing fiscal devolution, increasing the productivity of cities, improving revenue generation and collection, providing decent jobs and equal opportunities.

80% of ocean based waste is made of plastic

Sam Ngaruiya established his company, Regeneration Environmental Services to provide a community based collection system, adopt a logistics of waste collection and manufacture quality eco-construction products.

The plastic waste collected from the beach and cities is mixed with sand and other ingredients to make long lasting, quality side-walk pavers, bollards, road signage and fencing posts. Regeneration Environmental Services in turn has provided an economic demand for plastic waste which has resulted to a cleaner environment, more job opportunities and beautification of the streets and side-walk in the coastal city of Malindi.

Tourism sector experienced a 70% drop due to poor management of urban areas

The poor management of the urban areas, consistent dirty city combined with global economic pressure and insecurity contributed to tourism dropping by 70%, international residents departing and multiple large hotels closing. The quaint historical town of Malindi was slowly turning into a nightmare.

When Regeneration Environmental Services was established in 2013, there was no effective waste collection system. This internationally renowned resort city produced over 12 tonnes of garbage a week. This contained household waste which was stored in small and large polythene bags. These are usually thrown into open areas and around waste stations. The ”temporary” dumped site affected the most affluent neighborhoods in the city.


Regeneration Environmental Services comprises a team that sorts the recyclable waste into various types and in some cases, different colors. This team predominantly comprises of ladies up to 20 per day ensuring gender equality. There is daily accounting for amount sorted by each person. The sorters are paid by the quantity of sorting.

Records of all production activities are made which include: product made, waste, lost material, repairs, and the follow-up cleaning schedule. Though the company processes a lot of waste, the company trains and supervises the team to make sure that the work space is kept clean. Routine cleaning is done throughout the day.

Other several groups have been instrumental in creating the success. Malindi Residence Development Group (a residence association) ensures all city streets signage are made from local plastic waste which has been a key contributor to success. This has provided financial support to the company. Over half of all street name signs in Malindi are made with the unique product made from the plastic waste. Other products include traffic signs and speed bumps.


City and beach plastic waste now have an end use in Malindi. The waste is converted to products that are used in the city and sold to the public.

Reduced volume of plastic waste in the city. Plastic is gathered prior to collection by the city residents. Of the 12 tonnes of waste produced per week by the city, about 4 tonnes is isolated for recycling

Job creation for low income people and women.The waste collectors/recycling agents from the streets and waste stations are compensated by the quantity they bring in daily to the factory. This has helped many low-income citizens who have no source of income.

Positive impact in schools. Primary schools, where the value and importance of recycling was taught and factory tours are also given have positively impacted the waste management behavior.

• A school of 600 children in the rural area had not toilets. Regeneration Environmental Services worked with the school principal and community at large to implement a plastic collection program in which the reward would be install toilets for the kids.

In case you missed the September edition, we focused on how to design effective and appropriate urban legislation using a practical guide Reforming Urban Laws in Africa. The Guide was developed to provide practical advice to officials working on urban legal reform on how to improve the legal frameworks.


UN-Habitat; Shutterstock

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