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Lorna Rutto: Garbage Collector Who Quit a Stable Bank Job

EcoPost addresses waste management challenges in Kenya by producing sustainable fencing solutions using plastic waste

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Lorna Rutto, an enterprising Kenyan woman, has been making remarkable strides in industries traditionally dominated by men. She has shattered stereotypes of women confined to household chores by embracing unconventional paths.

Lorna Rutto is a former banker who dared to leave her secure job to chase her aspirations. While securing a banking position is a sought-after achievement by many unemployed Kenyans, Ms Rutto chose to transition from banking to waste management.

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A Kenyan eco-entrepreneur, Ms Rutto is the visionary behind EcoPost, a waste recycling facility. Established in 2010 in partnership with Charles Kalama, EcoPost produces eco-friendly, visually appealing, and durable lumber from recycled plastic waste, primarily used in fencing applications.

EcoPost not only addresses waste management challenges in Kenya but also produces sustainable fencing solutions using plastic waste. Ms Rutto initiative has generated over 300 job opportunities for individuals in Kenya, demonstrating courage, astuteness, and unwavering determination. In 2011, she was acknowledged as the Cartier Women’s Initiative laureate for Sub-Saharan Africa and received accolades both locally and internationally.

Hailing from Kaptembwa slums in Nakuru, Kenya, Ms Rutto’s upbringing amidst waste and pollution fostered her eco-consciousness from a young age. Her journey began with crafting jewellery from recycled plastics and selling them to her schoolmates and neighbours.

After earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting, Ms Rutto ventured into the banking sector but found her true calling in environmental transformation and societal impact. Driven by her passion to make a difference, she embarked on the entrepreneurial path, founding EcoPost to manifest her vision.

Leveraging her financial acumen and partnering with a biochemical engineer, they delved into plastic recycling, a concept Ms Rutto had long envisioned. Despite encountering financial constraints typical of startups, Rutto persisted, securing funding through various avenues.

Her endeavours led to significant milestones, such as devising over 10,000 fence posts, preserving forest land, and facilitating local employment opportunities.

Ms Rutto aspires to create 10,000 job positions in the next 15 years, enhancing waste collection while aiming to double the company’s annual output. Driven by a vision to address environmental challenges and combat climate change, she aims to meet the escalating demand for sustainable products amidst rising timber prices in Kenya.

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Steve Wambugu is a journalist based in Nairobi.
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