Circular Economy Measures: An Opportunity For Rethinking Plastics Waste Governance in Kenya

Nicholas O. Oguge
PhD, Centre for Advanced Studies in
Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP),
University of Nairobi


In Kenya, disposal of plastics waste particularly from packages is an obvious environmental, health and social concern contributing to substantial amounts of municipal solid waste and clogging of drainage systems among other problems. Legally, the plastics waste problem is currently addressed through the Kenya Gazette Notice No 2356 of 14 March 2017. This law is limited to the ban on the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging. Whilst good progress may have been made to reduce the menace, no data is currently available on impacts. Persistence of the problem, particularly from plastics waste not covered by the ban, would suggest that the current approach, however progressive, is inadequate to comprehensively address the issues surrounding plastics waste governance in the country. Articles 42 and 72 of the Kenyan Constitution recognize sustainable development as a principle of governance hence providing a basis for developing innovative approaches to managing plastics waste. Opportunities therefore exist in the application of circular economic measures to change the value system of plastics use and disposal in the society. This would require the development of a governance ecosystem that encapsulates the entire value chain in creating conditions for prudence in the use of plastics to grow the economy, create inclusive jobs, conserve the environment, and embrace societal needs. The tenets for growing that ecosystem forms the basis of this article.


Circular economy, green economy strategy, plastics waste, plastics waste governance in Kenya, solid waste management (SWM) in Kenya, the 4R framework.             LEAD Journal - ISSN 1746-5893