Sanergy is an inclusive business in Kenya, founded in 2014 with a focus on the circular economy. About 8 million people live in slum areas in Kenya. Many people lack access to proper toilets and there is lots of organic waste not properly disposed, resulting in major negative effects on public health. Sanergy maintains two distinguished business lines, one collecting waste from markets and slum areas and processing this into organic fertilizers and animal food sold through resellers. The other one being the running of a franchised public toilet system in the slums of Nairobi.
Sanergy is one of the few companies in Kenya addressing the circular use of human waste (including toilet waste) for agro-inputs. The company is using income from its fertilizer business to cross-subsidize its less viable toilet business. Sanergy’s philosophy is to sell its fertilizer through retailers rather than large traders, to create new income streams for low-income people.
For ensuring better maintenance and hygiene in the toilet business the company uses a franchise system, which also creates income opportunities for currently about 240 low income families (mostly women); furthermore, Sanergy is also looking into providing sanitation options for schools and other public places.
For the fertilizer business line, the main impact is on income increase, and a recent company internal study found that those farmers using the company’s organic fertilizer and feed products would achieve about 30% increase in yield and 20-25% increase in income when all costs are deducted. For the toilet business the social depth for the low income segment is also high given the high relevance of the product in the slums of Nairobi and the affordable cost of using the public toilet (5 KSh per use).
Sanergy's waste collection reduces human waste in the slums of Nairobi by about 20,000 tonnes per year, off-setting about 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.