Who Are Eco Brixs?
Are you new to our website and would like to understand what we do? This video below, kindly provided by The Glass Passport Project, explains who we are, and what we do!
Our Model: Tackling Plastic Waste and Creating Jobs in Uganda
We have created a sustainable and scalable model which helps to remove plastic waste from the environment whilst creating thousands of job opportunities.
Our vast collection network allows us to collect huge amounts of plastic waste from the community (especially vulnerable groups) and in exchange, provide them with money for their plastic.
This can then be brought to and sorted at the Eco Brixs Main Site, and then transformed into Eco-Products which we can sell to generate an income, and in turn, pay more people for more plastic. Alternatively, if there's any further plastic, in excess of demanded Eco-Products, we can sell this to Plastic Recycling Industries, further generating an income.
Meanwhile, the operation of our network through this process means we require staff - meaning we can employ people from vulnerable groups, empowering them to build their way out of poverty!
In Uganda, the plastic problem is not hidden in closed-off landfill sites. It is in front of you every day and very visual, often in the most beautiful places. On any walk, you will see piles of trash alight and smell the fumes of plastic burning and polluting the atmosphere.
It was seeing this, as well as discussing with old school friends over a drink what was the biggest issue facing the planet in modern times, which made our founder, Andy Bownds, want to start Eco Brixs back in 2017.
After 6 months of research and knocking on doors, he brought together a team of Eco Warriors, Johnson and Nickolas.
Johnson came to Andy's door one day and asked if he had any work available for him. Together they spent the next year doing odd jobs around the house and doing bits of gardening, but the whole time it was clear his potential wasn't being utilised. The birth of Eco Brixs was an opportunity to use Johnson's wide range of skills. He came on as the Collection Manager and now oversees the staff team and manages all working accounts daily.
Nicholas was a university student studying engineering, who got involved with Eco Brixs on a part-time basis whilst studying. Once he graduated, he came on full-time and helped to develop our Eco-Products concept.
Together, the three of them initially collected over 2 tons of plastic in Andy's garden, then under the trading name 'Masaka Recycling Initiative'.
Two years later and the organisation has evolved into 'Eco Brixs', which has strong links with the industry and partnerships with organisations such as Coke Cola, Rwenzori, the Queen's Commonwealth Trust and Opportunity Africa. Other supporters also include the Masaka Diocese who have provided land for the project, and the Buganda Kingdon - the patrons of the organisation are Bishop Kaggwa & Prince David Wasajja respectively from each.
The organisation now not only recycles plastic for the community, but supports the vulnerable through income opportunities and job creation, educates the young, and offers a product of value on the market through Eco-Products. Furthermore, it recycles 15 tons of plastic waste a month!
Andy puts this inspiring growth down to teamwork of some very hardworking individuals. He's now excited about the next chapter of growth for Eco Brixs, which will ultimately help to solve the plastic problem, through building zero waste communities.
"To create green environmentally friendly sustainable solutions to lift people out of abject poverty in Uganda."
Giving Trash a Value and Changing People's Habits
We aim to give trash a value. Research shows to change a habit the most effective way is to ensure the behaviour change will positively impact the individual. Therefore, our method is simple: we buy plastic from the community. This incentivises individuals through the biggest motivator of them all, money. However to buy something that you can't add value to and then sell it is unsustainable.
That's why Eco Brixs creates a market chain for plastic waste where we can add value and turn plastic into useful everyday items that attract a mass market.
With currently over 1000 individuals receiving extra income from the plastic waste chain, created by Eco Brixs, and 20 full-time staff on the books, we recycle up to 15 tons of plastic a month and have injected $42,600 into the local community, demonstrating sustainable development at its best.
The primary focus of Eco Brixs will remain on human development through green, environmentally friendly, sustainable solutions. The organisation will operate in Uganda with its head office located in Masaka District. Via training, capacity building and project implementation Eco Brixs can fulfil more distal objectives that aim to enhance individuals and communities providing a means to fulfil their human potential and conserve the environment for future generations. This will be done through working in partnership and empower the local community to facilitate environmentally friendly sustainable development and growth.
Extreme levels of plastic waste, youth unemployment and poverty are prevalent across Uganda. Eco Brixs helps address these issues and provide fair economic benefits for local Ugandans. We operate within the United Nations Global Goals Framework for sustainable development in affiliation with community-led grassroots projects in Uganda.
Our objectives, based on 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, are:
1. We focus on employing disabled community members and 50% of our workforce comes from the disability union.
2. We provide a way for the whole town to benefit from an aesthetically pleasing environment, as well as a new market in buying and selling plastic waste.
3. We encourage (and reward) individuals and businesses to be more accountable for the waste they create through their buying or business habits.
4. We offer a sustainable solution to recycling plastic - a non-perishable good - removing hundreds of tons of this toxic material from the natural environment.
Working specifically with the disabled community to provide employment.
Providing a way for the whole town to benefit from a more aesthetically pleasing environment as well as income generating opportunities.
Allowing individuals and companies to be more accountable for the waste they create through business or buying habits.
Recycling plastic, a non-perishable good, removing hundreds of tons of this toxic material from the natural environment.
Meet the Team
Eco Brixs is led by an experienced and skilled management team with extensive networks at corporate and government levels in Uganda. The management team are overseen by a UK and a Ugandan Board.
Andy Bownds (Co-CEO and Founder)
5 years in International Development managing the Uganda Marathon. 5 years in management with London Cyrenians. BA (Hons), Winchester University
After working all his professional life in the charity sector in London, Andy moved to Uganda in early 2015 to help establish another NGO: the Uganda Marathon Foundation.
Gee Elliott (Chair of the Board/Trustee)
Gee has lived in Uganda for several years, after falling in love with Uganda in 2015 when participating in the Uganda Marathon - a week-long adventure including volunteering and running a race to support the community.
Previously working in the finance sector in London, the experience had such an impact on her, from then, she dedicated her time setting up several grassroots projects designed to help the local community.
Joining Eco Brixs in late 2018, she's excited to be working on a project very close to her heart!
Johnson Musinguzi (Plant and Operations Manager)
2 years with EcoBrixs, 4 years with the Uganda International Marathon
After seeing the negative impact of plastic waste in Uganda he decided to conduct research into possible solutions. In the process of researching, he engaged with major recycling players in Uganda Plastic Recycling Industries (PRI). PRI were shortly taken over by Coca Cola which allowed Andrew to build a relationship with these corporate giants and learn the ins and outs of recycling in Uganda. After one years of planning he established Masaka Recycling Initiative, which over just two years, has grown into Eco Brixs, offering various support services for the community.