Trendsetters: Fashion from recycled materials

Kisumu Polytechnic students Diana Oloo, 21, and Angeline Akoth, 23.  [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

In the era of innovation and heightened environmental exposures, the tide is turning against waste disposal without regard to the environment, more so at learning institutions.

Diana Oloo, 21, and Angeline Akoth, 23, students at the Kisumu Polytechnic proved to guests attending this year’s cultural and technology exhibitions the various uses of ‘waste products’.

Oloo and Akoth proved that some of these wastes are finite resources – that can be collected and recycled for other social and domestic uses.

The student said that the first step usually involves collecting used items, breaking them up and sorting.

”This is what we do here with wastes. We sort the different polymers from one another melting the waste polymer forming the polymer into a new product,”’ says Akoth.

When The Standard visited the institution, Akoth had made a mini dress from used newspapers while her colleague, Oloo, had fashioned a mini skirt from used juice cans.

”It can be an extremely enjoyable way to spend some spare time, on your own or with your friends during free time after evening class. This is what I do,” says Oloo in the spruced up outfit.

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Diana Oloo, 21, and Angeline Akoth, 23, at Kisumu Polytechnic students. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

Oloo said she hopes that they will be able to tap into their skills and when the institute launches a textile factory.

”This is my target. I look forward to being absorbed in the factory when it will be finally up and running,” says Oloo. But she is not alone. Many of her peers in the industry eyes the same path.

According to Akoth, the reclamation of recyclable materials before being dumped at landfill sites is enhanced at the polytechnic.  

”They have to ask us if we need the wastes before they are dumped and incinerated,” said Oloo.

A message echoed by an instructor at the institution, Thomas Nyongor, who said the institution treats dumping sites as opportunity zones for harnessing new innovations.

”Today the resources that go into the goods, buildings and gadgets that make modern life so convenient are limited. So we allow them to explore wastes,” says 

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Diana Oloo, 21, and Angeline Akoth, 23, at Kisumu Polytechnic students. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

Nyongor added that finding ways to re-use materials in a circular economy is necessary for long-term prosperity.

”Reusing materials for new purposes can save a considerable amount of money,” he added.

For Liberal Studies students Nick Owaga and Beverlyne Achieng’, innovation is the way to go.

Rather than idle at games time, they, too, have resorted to making chairs from used tyres. A piece goes for Sh6,500. 

Owaga disclosed that they can make up to five pieces in a month, and sell to teachers and the surrounding community.

”Such is the summation of how innovation and creativity can fetch creativity students pocket money and fees,” noted Achieng’. ”If you’re looking to make something useful out of something recycled, you may be surprised by just how many items you can reuse creatively.” 

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Liberal Studies students Nick Owaga and Beverlyne Achieng showcasing their innovation. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

According to Kisumu Polytechnic Principal Catherine Kelonye, the textile factory’s construction, which is funded by the World Bank at a cost of Sh1.08 billion, is set to start in two months.

”This will be one of the biggest textile and clothing industry in East Africa,” said Kalonye.

Impressed by the great talents displayed by her students, Kalonye said she looks forward to seeing her students working at the factory when it opens its doors in a year’s time.

”Everybody throws away garbage. Students and staff immediately see if a recycling system is in place or not,” she added. 

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