Teacher's eco-friendly innovation that transforms waste into Art – The Standard

A primary school teacher in Nyeri County has found an eco-friendly way to transform trash into flower pots and wall hangings.
Joel Kariuki’s passion for recycling started as a young boy when he developed an interest in drawing he carried this love for art into his adulthood and profession as a teacher.

“My passion for art inspired me as a teacher at Kingongo Primary in Nyeri to encourage young students to recycle waste material and make usable items at home and in school,” he said.

Kariuki said he recycles items that he finds in the dustbin where he sorts organic and inorganic matter and then uses wheat flour to join pieces together.
“The process is very simple I pick the waste sorting into two piles organic and inorganic, later I use glue from waste wheat flour to join the items and later use cement to make it stronger and firm,” Kariuki added.
He then shapes the items to produce the preferable shape and later on paints and leaves the finished items for two to three weeks to dry.

Kariuki said that recycling should be part of the CBC syllabus for young people to embrace ways to recycle and care for their environment.
At the same time, he noted foreign objects contribute to blocking the drainage leading to flooding in residential areas.
 “I encourage students to recycle anything they find I also encourage them to change their habits,” he said.
He cited that the heavy rain that was experienced in the country the floods were caused by the drainage that were blocked by foreign objects that if they had been collected earlier and recycled flooding could be avoided.
Kariuki said for 20 years he has been practicing the art of drawing and recycling he has come to the realisation that talent pays.
“It is five years since I turned my talent into a business and I have found that recycling plastic has allowed me to employ more than three people to do the job,” Kariuki said. The entrepreneur said he is training children to earn money out of the waste.
He said some of the challenges facing the industry include risk of dirty water bottles and the high cost of paints that increase each and every day prices of the painting brushes.
“One bottle of paint that he bought on Sh400 is now buying the same at Sh800,” Karuiki explained.
 He plans to expand his art and business especially recycling plastic bottles and set up a bigger workshop where he can employ five youths to work while he seeks for the market.
 He urges the youth to create employment opportunities through recycling bottles among other items instead of seeking formal jobs noting that art is simple and youth can learn fast.
“No need for the youth to complain that there is no job you start small and expand to a bigger business and investment,” he said 
 At the same time, he appealed to the government to include recycling and environment conservation as part of the syllabus to train the students on climate change mitigations.
 “Every teacher in the republic to create awareness to the student and train them to collect waste put them together for recycling and this will be translated even at home and slowly will change the public this will make the children more occupied and more engaged,” the entrepreneur said.
He said the children are able to relate what they have been taught in school and never forget and at one point can emulate republic of Rwanda the cleanest country in Africa.
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