Kenya - 3.7 Waste Management and Recycling Infrastructure Assessment 


In Kenya, waste collection is a multifaceted process involving various stakeholders and methods. It involves households/organizations sorting waste into categories like organic, recyclable, and non-recyclable. Municipal and private companies collect these separated wastes using trucks on set routes. Urban areas see informal "waste pickers" collecting items like plastic, glass, and paper for recycling. Challenges like limited infrastructure, irregular schedules, and low public awareness about proper waste disposal continue, affecting the efficiency of waste management. 

Waste Management and Recycling Regulations in Kenya 

  • The Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA), 1999: This is the principal law regulating environmental management in Kenya, including waste management. It establishes NEMA and empowers it to regulate waste management, pollution control, and environmental impact assessments. Refer: 

  • Sustainable Waste Management Act, 2022-It gives a comprehensive framework for sustainable waste management in Kenya, involving extended producer responsibility, proper labelling and handling of products, cooperation between different levels of government, and various measures to reduce waste and promote recycling. 


  • Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Waste Management) Regulations, 2006: These regulations provide specific guidelines for the collection, transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal of solid waste in Kenya. 


Waste Management and Recycling Service Providers 

In Kenya, waste management and recycling services are provided by a combination of government agencies and private companies. The key players involved in waste management and recycling include: 

  1. Government Agencies  

National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is the principal government agency responsible for overseeing and coordinating all environmental management activities in Kenya. They play a significant role in waste management regulation, policy development, and environmental enforcement. Please follow link below for more information: 

County Governments: Waste management responsibilities have been devolved to county governments in Kenya. Each county has its own Department of Environment or similar body responsible for waste management within its jurisdiction. These departments develop and implement waste management strategies aligned with national policies. 

  1. Private Companies 

Private companies play a crucial role in waste management and recycling services in Kenya. The roles of these companies are classified as follows: Private Waste Collection Companies, Recycling Companies, Waste-to-Energy solution Companies that generate electricity or other forms of energy, informal Waste Pickers and NGOs and Community-Based Organizations. Below is a list of major waste management service providers in Kenya. 


  1. Waste Recycling Programme 

There are recycling programs in Kenya, involving both private and public/governmental recycling facilities. Some of recycling initiatives by different organizations in Kenya are detailed below: 



Recycled Product 


Telephone Numbers 

Email address 

Kenya PET Recycling Company Limited 

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles.  


Coca-Cola Plaza, Kilimanjaro Avenue, Upperhill 

+25 4725 883 253 

Nairobi City County 

Recyclable materials such as plastic, paper, and metal 

Nairobi City Hall, 
City Hall Way, Nairobi, Kenya 

+254 725 624 489/ +254 738 041 292 

Ecopost Limited 


Plastic lumber products for various applications like construction, fencing, and furniture. 

Baba Dogo Rd, Ruaraka, Opposite Roy Transporters Depot, 

254(0)725 351 032/ 254(0)721 953 768 

Kamongo Wastepaper Ltd 

Recycles paper waste 

Branches in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Eldoret 

07924 10410 

Chandaria Industries Ltd 

Recycles paper waste 

Location: Baba Dogo, Ruaraka. 

0723 414 172/ 0733 872 828.


Status of Landfills in Kenya 

Waste in Kenya is frequently disposed of in open dumpsites or informal landfills. Like many other countries, Kenya encounters challenges in waste management, particularly in the administration of landfills. The precise count of landfills in Kenya can fluctuate. However, the country has been actively striving to shift from open dumping sites to engineered sanitary landfills that adhere to higher environmental standards. The Sustainable Waste Management Bill, 2019 mandates the closure of open and uncontrolled dumpsites and the expansion of the market for recycled products. Notably, the Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi is recognized as the most prominent in the country and ranks among the largest unregulated landfills in Africa.  

The management of landfills in Kenya is overseen by various entities, including local government authorities, county governments, and waste management companies. 

 National Government is responsible for crafting standards, including classification, licensing, and engineering guidelines for various landfill categories. They formulate regulations that require either public entities or licensed materials' recovery facilities to conduct landfill activities, facilitated through licenses, contracts, or concessions. The national government also addresses special waste conditions, such as e-waste, asbestos, radioactive, and hazardous waste, setting stipulations for permits, handling protocols, and disposal methods. They establish operational guidelines for overall landfill management, encompassing operations, automation, and general oversight. 

County Governments undertakes specific roles: ensuring that landfills exclusively handle residual waste, establishing engineered landfills within their jurisdiction (except in inter-county or county economic bloc agreements), developing frameworks for public-private partnerships and concessions to optimize landfill management, implementing landfill fees to discourage waste disposal in landfills and dumpsites, and localizing national landfilling guidelines and regulations for effective application within their administrative boundaries. This comprehensive strategy is designed to achieve efficient landfill management, mitigate environmental impacts, and promote responsible waste disposal practices across Kenya. 


Waste Management and Recycling Challenges in Kenya 

Waste management and recycling in Kenya face several significant challenges, which can hinder effective waste disposal practices, environmental protection, and sustainable resource management. Some of the major challenges include: 

  1. Lack of Infrastructure: Inadequate waste collection, disposal, and recycling facilities result in open dumping and uncontrolled landfills. 


  1. Low Public Awareness: Limited understanding of proper waste management leads to improper disposal habits. 


  1. Informal Waste Sector: Challenges faced by waste pickers hinder efficient recycling practices. 


  1. Segregation Issues: Poor waste segregation at the source makes recycling less effective. 


  1. Funding Constraints: Insufficient funding hampers the development of waste management infrastructure. 


  1. Recycling Market Challenges: Lack of robust markets for recycled materials affects sustainability. 


  1. Plastic Pollution: High levels of single-use plastics contribute to environmental pollution. 


  1. Landfill Mismanagement: Poorly managed landfills lead to contamination and health risks. 


  1. Urbanization Impact: Rapid urban growth increases waste generation pressure. 


  1. Hazardous Waste Handling: Inadequate management of hazardous waste poses risks. 


  1. Illegal Dumping: Dumping waste illegally harms the environment and public health. 


Hazardous Waste Disposal 

Hazardous waste in Kenya includes substances like oils/water, hydrocarbons/water mixtures, emulsions, and explosive or flammable materials. Kenya's approach to hazardous waste disposal is guided by stringent regulations, emphasizing safe handling from creation to disposal. Operators generating hazardous waste are required to secure an Environmental Impact Assessment License (EIA license), highlighting the nation's commitment to responsible waste management. 

Furthermore, hazardous waste generators ensure container security and labelling. Containers must be securely sealed and labelled in both English and Kiswahili, providing essential information for safe handling and disposal. 

Detailed specifications for container labels include waste identity, generator's contact details, composition, storage guidelines, and active ingredient percentages. Warning/caution statements and recognizable symbols alert individuals to hazards, with mandatory first aid measures and medical assistance contacts. Refer: 

Non-Hazardous Waste Disposal 

The disposal procedures for non-hazardous waste in Kenya adhere to the Waste Management Regulations, ensuring responsible waste management. Waste generators are mandated to collect, segregate, and properly dispose of waste according to the provided guidelines. 

To guarantee proper disposal, waste generators must transfer waste exclusively to licensed entities for transportation and disposal, preventing improper waste handling. 

Additionally, the regulations emphasize that waste generators must integrate anti-pollution technology for waste treatment at their premises, based on the best available practices. Industrial waste cannot be disposed of until treated according to established methodology. This approach underscores Kenya's commitment to sustainable waste management practices and environmental protection. 

Refer procedure in the link below: 



National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)  

Popo Road,South C, off Mombasa Road 

P.O.BOX 67839-00200, Nairobi. Kenya 

Mobile: 0724 253398, 0735 013046. 

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