Woman Crush Wednesday: Nzambi Matee

by Duchess Magazine

Nzambi Matee: The Kenyan Woman Turning Plastic Wastes Into Bricks ‘Seven Times’ Stronger Than Concrete Bricks

After quitting her job Nzambi Matee opted to offer hope of a better and healthier world to people.

“I wanted to use my education in applied physics and materials engineering to do something about the problem of plastic waste pollution. But I was very clear that the solution had to be practical, sustainable and affordable. The best way to do this was by channeling the waste into the construction/building space and finding the most efficient and affordable material to build homes.”

Nzambi Matee, who is only 29 years old, transforms tons of Kenyan plastic waste into lightweight, incredibly strong bricks that are five to seven times stronger than concrete bricks.

She started making these bricks in her mother’s backyard, and it took her nine months of labor and even longer to complete the first brick she ever made. After that, she was able to enlist a partner to help her create the machines required to make the bricks. Nzambi Matee established Gjenge Makers, a business where she creates these plastic bricks in large quantities, after experiencing many ups and downs.

Nzambi Matee is a Kenyan engineer, businessman, and the founder of Gjenge Makers, a company that produces bricks that can support twice as much weight as regular concrete bricks using plastic trash from commercial buildings.

Since starting her own recycling business, Gjenge Makers, Nzambi Matee has recycled 20 metric tons of plastic into paving bricks that are available in a variety of forms and colors and provided 120 job opportunities for Nairobi’s youth and garbage collectors. The bricks are among the most affordable on the market, or Gjenge bricks as she named them.

Her business, Gjenge Makers Factory, has a daily brick production capacity of up to 1,500. The earth-friendly bricks come in a variety of sizes and can be used to build residential and commercial structures as well as roads.

Nzambi Matee received the Young Champion of the Earth award, the highest environmental honor given by the United Nations, in 2020 as a result of her efforts.

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