Silafrica: Helping the Plastic Packaging Sector Move to a Circular Economy Model

Akshay Shah, Group Executive Director at Silafrica, the leading rigid plastic packaging manufacturer in Kenya, explains how the company is helping the plastic packaging sector move to a circular economy model.

Akshay Shah, Group Executive Director at Silafrica, the leading rigid plastic packaging manufacturer in Kenya, explains how the company is helping the plastic packaging sector move to a circular economy model.

“Silafrica has been in the business of manufacturing plastic packaging for almost 60 years now and I have been involved in the running of Silafrica for almost 30 years in various countries in Africa. And because we have been in this business for so long, we know the consequences of plastic waste in the environment. We have always been very cognizant of that and made sure that we are making recyclable packaging. Where possible, we try to recover this material and make something else out of it. We have always been operating in a sustainable way, but I think what has happened over the last few years is that the world has essentially caught up with this idea that we must move from this old industrial notion of a linear economy to a future looking and more environmentally sustainable option of a circular economy. Silafrica’s action towards that is to first of all align with the global movement, because this circular economy is not just happening in Kenya, Tanzania or Ethiopia, where we operate, it is happening across the world, and the whole world needs to move to a circular economy model. Part of it was to really find the right global organization to become a part of so that we can learn from the best practices. We can make some commitments which can then catalyze the actions and the innovation that we take, not only within our business, but also within the plastic packaging sector in East Africa where we operate. It was really about becoming part of both, a global movement as well as championing a more local and regional movement towards circular economy”, says Akshay Shah.

“We reached out to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation because they are one of two major global forces, together with Alliance to End Plastic Waste, that are actively working on helping the plastic sector move to a circular economy model. Both of them are amazing organizations and we have the bandwidth to become part of one, which is why we applied to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. We were accepted as one of the global signatories. And the reason for going through that process was that we can learn a lot from what other organizations that are part of this global force are doing to make the right changes, the right innovation in moving towards becoming 100% recyclable in the plastic packaging that they manufacture. We can learn from other companies about how they are doing it. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. Besides, what we are doing can be shared with other companies around the world who are part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. There is a lot of synergy, best practices, innovation, sharing, etc. The second thing is that we are making a commitment publicly that by the end of 2025, we are not going to make any kind of packaging that is not 100% recyclable. This is very important, not only for us internally, but even for our customers, as we are committed to helping them make sure that the packaging that we produce for them will be 100% recyclable. And that applies to everything that we make in terms of packaging. It was very important to take a stand on this and make it public. Another interesting point is that any industry operates as part of a supply chain, all the way from the raw material and now all the way back to the recycling and circular movement of this material. For us to be successful, we need to be part of a circular value chain, as opposed to a linear value chain. This also means that we have to attract the right type of partners, be it material suppliers, equipment suppliers, types of banks and insurance companies we partner with, etc. We want our entire value chain, not just our customers, to be committed to this idea of circular economy. That whole vision and commitment is one of the reasons why we went ahead and became a part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation community”, he adds.





ADDRESS: Westlands Business Park, Chiromo Lane, 7th Floor, Nairobi, Kenya

CONTACT: (+254) 722 330 476




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