Namusoke Percy's Story: Embracing Recycling
Updated: Oct 23
"There is a solution to plastic pollution in our community."
- Percy's reflects on the recycling systems established by Eco Brixs
Namusoke Percy is a Catechist Teacher who lives in a small village called Kasaka, near Lake Nabugabo. This village is in the Masaka district and is approximately 20 kilometres from Eco Brixs' HQ, where collected plastic waste is recycled into new Eco-Products.
Percy started collecting plastic in December 2022 and started her own Community Buy Back Centre, which is a public space where people can bring plastic, have it weighed and be paid for it. She oversees this operation, paying individuals for the plastic they have cleaned up and collected.
Once Percy's centre in Kasaka has purchased and stored a sufficient amount of plastic, Eco Brixs dispatches a truck to collect the plastic. This is when Eco Brixs will weigh all the plastic at the centre, whilst loading it onto the truck. Percy is then paid for the plastic she has collected, which ensures she is paid and has money to purchase further plastic from the community. On a typical pickup, Percy sells 112 kilograms of plastic to Eco Brixs, which is taken back to HQ for recycling.
"The best part of it is Eco Brixs buys our plastic waste. Imagine being paid for waste - who could believe it!"
Percy is a mother of 4 and also a caregiver for a further 3 children who are all in school. As she has a lot of dependents, she especially appreciates being paid for the plastic she collects. Often, the income is used to pay her children's school fees so they can receive an education.
The work of Percy and other Plastic Collectors has helped to clean up the area. For example, the local trading centre is a busy hub of activity where people shop in the day and socialise in the evening, which often results in a lot of litter and plastic waste. Previously, due to the lack of waste management systems in Uganda, this would have either been left as it is, or even burnt or buried. Now, as Eco Brixs pays for plastic, people see the value in gathering it up and bringing it to Plastic Collectors such as Percy, ensuring it is responsibly recycled.
"There was a lot of plastic litter and burning of plastics in open spaces but now it's no more. There has been a social and habit change in the community."
Alongside the infrastructure and systems to manage plastic waste, Percy also likes how Eco Brixs' model is inclusive as it aims to create jobs for marginalised people. She recognised how this helps tackle Uganda's high levels of unemployment, which is especially prominent amongst groups such as young people, women and people with disabilities. She also like how this means everyone can get involved in solving Uganda's challenge with plastic waste.
To this end, Percy encourages young people in her neighbourhood to collect plastic and bring it to her so she can pay them for it, helping them to have a job.
"This shows inclusion works. Eco Brixs works with all people, which not only solves the problem of unemployment but it has also made people feel included and valued."
Percy is also passionate about raising awareness about pollution and climate change in her community. She is pleased to have an Eco Brixs' Plastic For Education programme operating in Kasaka, which teaches school pupils about the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) and provides them with the systems to recycle at school.
And Percy is going even further personally - she is trying to educate the older generation as well, who she says find it harder to accept Climate Change (which is especially true for those who cannot read). So she is using examples of Uganda's weather patterns to help illustrate her points, such as droughts heatwaves, and torrential rains.
She also hopes she can encourage people to stop burning plastic as well by talking to people about the dangers of mismanaged plastic pollution and microplastics.