The city of Dar es Salaam generates an estimated 46,000 tons of plastic waste every day, and this waste has a significant impact on the environment. Hellena Silas, the Founder and CEO of Arena Recycling Industry, recognized the harm that plastic waste was causing to the environment and decided to take action. In 2019, she founded Arena Recycling Industry, a social enterprise that converts plastic waste into eco-friendly building materials.
Arena Recycling Industry is not just a business, but a mission to reduce plastic waste and promote sustainable practices. Along with Hellena Silas, the founding team includes Zagalo Emmanuel as the Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Airas David as the Chief Operations Officer, Amos Joachim as the Marketing Officer, and Zuhura Hamad as the Finance Manager. The company’s office is located at Sinza Kumekucha, Amani street, house number 10, and its production plant is located in Mwanagati Kitunda, with plans to construct a new plant in Mbagala.
Hellena’s passion for protecting the environment from plastic waste drove her to start Arena Recycling Industry. She was inspired to turn waste into wealth and make a difference in her community. Through her company, she is helping to tackle the plastic waste problem in Dar es Salaam while also creating job opportunities for the youth. She says, “In early 2018, the idea was born and the journey began in 2019 with initial funds of approximately 400,000 Tanzanian shillings (equivalent to around $190.00). The funds were used to develop an innovative brick block that employed a manual process of heating plastic. Since then, the journey has been intriguing and has continued to grow with each passing day.
Investing in the Idea
The prize money allowed her to scale up her operation and invest in better equipment, which led to increased production and higher quality products. With this success, she was able to attract more clients
nd increase her impact on the environment by reducing the amount of plastic waste in the city. Despite its young age, Arena Recycling Industry has made significant progress in its mission to recycle plastic waste into eco-friendly building materials. The company has collection areas where plastic waste is gathered and transported to the production plant where it is transformed into building materials.
Plastic waste is a global crisis and countries are struggling to find an alternative to the packaging of plastics that contributes largely to environmental pollution and a threat to marine species- It is estimated that 100,000 marine animals are killed every year because of ingesting plastic materials. Seeing this challenge Arena recycling decided to come up with a solution for alternative uses of plastics.
Arena recycling is solving the problem of poor waste management, especially plastic waste. to date, Arena has been able to collect more than 500 tonnes of plastic and they are looking forward to growing and expanding to other regions of Dar es Salaam to collect more plastic waste. Arena Recycling believes that the more eco-bricks they produce the more plastic waste is consumed and reduced on earth.
The Arena Recycling Industry is making a huge difference for the environment and for communities in Dar es Salaam. By providing a viable solution to plastic waste management, the ARI is reducing plastic pollution and helping to create jobs and provide economic benefits to the local economy. The company’s research and pilot programs have proven that their eco-bricks are a sustainable and safe way to build with plastic. Along with their collaborations with the US Embassy and other NGOs, they have made a real difference in the area of plastic waste management. As the ARI continues to expand and find new ways to reduce waste and promote environmental stewardship, they are sure to make a lasting impact in the fight against plastic pollution.
One of the most significant advantages of Arena Recycling Industry is its approach to waste collection. Rather than relying on individuals to bring their plastic waste to the company, Arena has established collection areas in various locations to make it easier for people to dispose of their plastic waste responsibly. This approach not only ensures a consistent supply of raw materials for the company but also helps to keep plastic waste out of the environment.
Furthermore, the eco-friendly building materials produced by Arena Recycling Industry have several advantages over traditional building materials. For example, they are durable, waterproof, and heat-resistant, making them ideal for use in various construction applications. The company’s products are affordable and can be customized to suit different customer needs, making them an attractive alternative to traditional building materials. Overall, Arena Recycling Industry is making a significant contribution to reducing plastic waste and promoting sustainable construction practices in Tanzania.
Challenges and Achievements
Arena Recycling Industry faces a common challenge that many startups face: balancing the day-to-day needs of working with clients and the long-term goal of reaching their fundraising target. In order to expand their operations and scale up their impact, the company needs to raise a significant amount of money, and this process can be time-consuming and unpredictable. Additionally, raising funds can come with certain restrictions and conditions that may not always align with the company’s mission and goals. These conditions may be too strict or not flexible enough to allow Arena Recycling Industry to innovate and grow. Despite these challenges, the company continues to work towards their fundraising target of $100,000. By securing this funding, they hope to expand their operations, build a new production plant, and increase their impact on the environment by diverting more plastic waste from landfills and turning it into eco-friendly building materials. Arena Recycling recycles plastic waste into eco-friendly building materials, tackling environmental challenges, providing employment opportunities and supporting the circular economy, with plans to expand and increase their impact.
To read more about our reports featuring Startups in Tanzania https://bit.ly/ImpactTechTZ2021-Report and http://bit.ly/TECHTZ2022