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Lorna Rutto: Ex-Banker Cashing in Over Ksh 10 Million Annually from Recycling Plastic Waste

Lorna Rutto is the founder of Eco Post, a local company founded in 2009 to offer management solutions to Kenya’s plastic waste menace.

With establishing the company, she has also created over 300 job opportunities and saved over 250 acres of forests from plastic pollution.

Lorna’s commitment mostly stems from her childhood experiences while growing up in Nakuru’s Kaptembwa Slums.

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Here is her story as told by WoK.

While growing up, Lorna noticed the huge amount of plastic waste littering the environment.

As a result, she started collecting plastics which she would then melt them and make creative jewellery and small ornaments.

Lorna would sell them to her school mates and neighbours.

After completing her secondary school education, she enrolled in university and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Accounting.

Lorna secured a job at a leading banking institution but she later quit her job and turned her focus to environmental transformation.

“I resigned in 2010 because I wanted to do something that would see me help the community,” she mentioned.

Entrepreneurship

It was then when she partnered with Charles Kalama, a biochemical engineer, to establish EcoPost.

Despite having financial difficulties while starting the company, it was not long before they achieved significant milestones.

For instance, with their start-up, they created job opportunities, preserved forests and made over 10,000 fencing poles from plastic waste.

“I am actually turning the trash into cash while creating job opportunities… Nothing makes me happier,” she said.

They also make sign posts, building and construction materials and lumber which can make tables and ceilings.

“We want to prevent the cutting of trees. That is why we are making lumber which is a long lasting product that does not rot,” she said.

Lorna and her team are currently working on doubling their annual output and create over 10,000 job opportunities in the next 15 years.

Lorna Rutto PHOTO/Cartier Women Initiative

Awards

She has won among other awards, Ichem E -Innovator of the Year, Enablis Business Launchpad Award, Bid Network Nature Challenge Award and The Cartier Women’s Initiative Sub-Saharan Africa Laureate Award.

Lorna also won the Green Award by the Transform Kenya Awards, a joint initiative of the Standard Group and Deloitte.

She is also listed on The 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa by Forbes magazine.

“All these awards couldn’t have come by if I gave up along the way to make Ecopost what it is now. It took a lot of patience and passion; passion for the environment,” Lorna said.

As of 2015, EcoPost generated over Ksh 10.8 million in revenue in a year.

“I’m so excited that our company has been able to create sustainable communities and spurred economic growth,” she told Business Daily.

Adding, “I intend to change the lives of two billion people by creating opportunities through sustainable waste management practices which will also help to conserve our continent.”