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Lucy Gathoni: How Decision To Sell Her House To Start Garbage Collection Business Has Paid Off As Entrepreneur Now Makes Up Sh1.2 Million Per Month

By Prudence Minayo

Lucy Gathoni is the founder of Junky Bins, a company that collects garbage in residential areas and business premises across the city. Ms. Gathoni started collecting trash in 2010 around her estate before venturing into the city. To raise capital to start the business, she sold her only house at Sh2.2 million. While she had no plans of selling the house, there wasn’t another avenue of raising capital.

“We had not intended to sell the house, but we didn’t have many options,” she told Business Daily.

Today, her decision has paid off. She has 18 employees and makes upto Sh1.2 million a month. 

“When I started the company, I would get about Sh300,000 a month, and now it has grown to approximately Sh1.2 million a month,” she was quoted by BD.

Here is the story of Lucy Gathoni as told by WoK. 

Garbage Collection and Recycling 

The company collects and disposes garbage from households, corporates, hotels and restaurants across Westlands, Lavington, Kitisuru, Kilimani, Parklands, Spring Valley, Riverside, Kileleshwa and Peponi. On a single day, they collect 300 kilograms of plastics and 6000 kilograms of mixed waste. 

Apart from collecting and disposing the waste, they also add value through recycling kitchen household waste to electronic, such as phones and laptops among other recyclables. 

After they have gathered the garbage, it is divided into reusables. The plastic wastes are made into pellets which are afterwards recycled into plastic buckets, jugs, water containers, cups and basins. 

Cartons and papers are recycled into tissue papers and organic wastes into organic feeds for pigs, fish and poultry. The remnant is then transformed into organic fertilizers which is purchased by farmers. 

To effectively meet their goals, they work with other organisations including WEEE Center for Ewaste and Kamongo Waste Paper Recycles. 

Challenges

Like most businesses, they face challenges that include financial constraints and market awareness. Most people in the country do not understand about the waste collection business. 

Through managing the business, Lucy has learnt to value her employees and do the right thing. 

Her long term plan is to come up with a material recovery facility where collected garbage will be sifted into different waste steams then sent to various stakeholders for value addition or upscaling. This will drastically reduce the water being dropped at landfills or dump sites. 

For those wishing to get into business, her advice is that they should believe in themselves and be ready to take risks. They should also focus on employing the right people in order to build a powerful team.

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