Nairobi, Kenya


Textile Industry

Jobs created:

86 since 04/22


100t recycled

Financial and venture building support since 2022.

The Challenge

Textile Waste: A Growing Crisis

The fashion industry is a major contributor to climate change and faces a significant waste problem. Less than 1% of all textiles produced are recycled, leading to the loss of approximately 60 billion kilograms of textiles and footwear each year through burning or landfilling. This waste translates to a staggering value loss of over USD 500 billion due to under-utilized clothes and the lack of collection and recycling infrastructure. The pressing need for sustainable solutions in the textile industry calls for innovative approaches to address this environmental and social challenge.



The innovation

Transforming Textile Waste

Africa Collect Textiles Ltd (ACT) is a remarkable social enterprise based in Nairobi, Kenya. ACT is at the forefront of creating an inclusive textile value chain by establishing business units for the collection, sorting, recycling, upselling, and reselling of used textiles and footwear. Their holistic approach not only aims to provide low-income communities with decent and affordable outfits but also lays the foundation for a circular fashion industry. By diverting textile waste from landfills and implementing sustainable practices, ACT strives to support the environment while generating employment opportunities.


Why ACT?

The special thing about ACT is the warm family atmosphere at both locations. When you visit the company, you feel the calm, home-like environment away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi city. In the factory, there is an open togetherness, people cook together and eat lunch together, which creates a warm family feeling.

At the weaving centre in Kitui, more than 100 women make baskets for ACT. In doing so, they secure their livelihood and are part of a community. The centre is like a safe haven, providing an environment for these women to share their concerns, pour their hearts out, dance and most importantly, support each other.


Key Facts

Start-Up Impact

  • Sustainable income through green jobs in local production
  • Securing and benefiting from the value of textiles through recycling
  • Incentive model for collection partners and their charities
  • Reduction of textile waste being landfilled
  • Prevention of CO2 emissions from burning textiles
  • Development and promotion of a resource-efficient circular economy
  • Reduction of the overall need of textiles by recycling and upcycling textiles


Meet the Founders

Alex Musembi

Co-Founder & GM of ACT
Alex serves as the General Manager for ACT in Nairobi. He is an entrepreneur with experience in trading textiles and hospital consumables. Alex is also the Board Secretary of the Knitting Project Foundation and previously worked as a project officer for KICI projects in Kenya. He holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management from the University of Nairobi and has been recognized for his contributions to ACT through a cash prize won at a pitch contest hosted by the E4Impact Incubator in Kenya.

Elmar Stroomer

Co-Founder of ACT
Elmar completed his Master's in Strategic Product Design at the Technical University of Delft in 2007. He has a strong background in product development and has collaborated on various textile sorting and recycling projects with institutions such as TUDelft, ENVIU, and KICI (now Sympany). Elmar spent several years in Kenya and Uganda from 2012 to 2017, establishing ACT and a design office for Design without Borders. He later worked for design studio REGGS, managing clients such as Heineken and AMD. In 2018, Elmar received the Circular Design Award from Rabobank and Desko for his innovative work in creating a 3D woven chaise longue from recycled denim.

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