Business opportunities and challenges for small and medium enterprises in waste recycling in Nairobi East sub-county
Waste management is one of the most visible urban services whose effectiveness and sustainability serves as an indicator for good local governance. Waste management therefore is a good indicator of performance of a municipality. The search for sustainable development, increased population pressure in urban areas, land limitations associated with difficulties in finding suitable sites for establishing landfills as well as decrease in raw materials compounded with challenges of waste collection and disposal, makes recycling a preferred option for solid waste management. This research based on a survey design targeting entrepreneurs, employees and enterprises was conducted to examine the opportunities available for, and the challenges faced by, small and medium enterprises in their recycling effort in Nairobi East Subcounty with specific objectives of documenting the available opportunities and challenges for Small and Medium Enterprises involvement in recycling and the efforts made by Small and Medium Enterprises in exploiting such opportunities and overcoming challenges in the recycling sector. To achieve this, questionnaires, interviews and naturalistic observation checklist were used to collect data. The semi-structured approach of the interviews employed allowed the researcher to achieve an in-depth approach of collecting data. This in turn helped in collecting many different views of the subject matter under study. Various theories where used in addition to the data collected so as to give an interpretation and enhance understanding of the subject matter from findings obtained. Issues regarding relationships between environment, the economy, society and public policy have been anchored in Ecological Modernization theory whereas issues of waste minimization and/or resource use optimization goals and values; have been influenced by Waste management theory, built under the paradigm of Industrial Ecology. Ecological systems approach did assist with the deeper understanding of organizations in relation to contextual environmental factors such as “structure, size, technology, and leadership patterns and Organizational life cycle model, while SME development theory, helped clarify enterprises‟ stages of life cycles and the transformation from one stage to another. Data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS and excel spreadsheets. The results indicate that about 86% of the respondents agree that there are opportunities to be exploited in the recycling sector while the many experienced challenges can be overcome. The enterprises have made effort to overcome the challenges by adopting various actions. It is hoped that the findings of this research (section 4.4) will assist investors, entrepreneurs, authorities and policy makers on maximizing on the opportunities in the recycling sector through offering remedial actions to support this sector while promoting sound environmental management practices.