Eco Brixs began life in founder Andy Bownds’ back garden in 2017, when he and a small team of people decided to address their frustrations with the lack of a formal waste management system in Masaka, Uganda by recycling 2 tonnes of plastic themselves. Eventually, their operations grew into a plastic collection facility named the Masaka Recycling Initiative, before eventually evolving into a fully-staffed NGO that now works to create sustainable solutions for lifting people out of poverty across Uganda.
In addition to its work in recycling plastic into a variety of valuable materials, from face shields to building resources, Eco Brixs also seeks to change attitudes towards waste across all levels of society in Uganda, from grassroots to government. It has helped achieve this through a number of initiatives, including awareness campaigns, education programmes for young people and students, and government lobbying work.
“We very much believe that movement has to be linked to action. So when we go to schools, we set up a programme where they can recycle. We set up a sustainable system where they can plant trees, we set up programmes designed to leave an impact that can last much, much longer than a single awareness campaign.” Andy Bownds
Eco Brixs has been running the Renew Our World campaign in Uganda, building partners for Tearfund in Uganda in the conservation space. As part of its work with the movement, Eco Brixs runs the Plastic for Education Programme, encouraging students and staff to collect plastics from their schools, then recycling it for them at one of their centres. The organisation is also working with the University of Kampala on its first ever Recycling Innovation Hub.
One space that Eco Brixs hopes to continue to move into going forward is that of policy work. The charity has worked with Uganda’s National Environmental Management Authority to map informal waste collectors across Uganda, and hopes to use the data to feed into the formulation of new policies around informal waste picker rights. The team are also hoping to shift policy around tax incentives for green jobs, and galvanise more government support for Uganda’s already innovative green industry.
Andy Bownds moved to Uganda in 2015 to help establish the Uganda Marathon Foundation, before founding Eco Brixs in 2017, where he now operates as the organisation’s CEO. Andy also represents Eco Brixs’ work as the national expression for Renew Our World in Uganda.