Rethread Africa: Transforming agricultural waste into sustainable fashion solutions

Rethread Africa is a sustainable materials startup dedicated to transforming the fashion industry by converting agricultural waste from smallholder farmers into carbon-neutral biomaterials. Founded as a university project, Rethread Africa, a valued member of Impact Hub Nairobi, has grown to secure partnerships and attract interest from industry leaders and global fashion brands. With pilots in Homa Bay and research labs in Nairobi, Rethread Africa is on a mission to build a waste-free future by creating eco-friendly alternatives for fashion, footwear, and packaging applications.

Author picture

Rethread Africa‘s mission is to revolutionise the fashion industry by turning agricultural waste into carbon-neutral biomaterials. This initiative addresses the dual problems of agricultural waste and the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. By sourcing waste from smallholder farmers, Rethread Africa not only promotes environmental sustainability but also enhances the economic stability of local farming communities.


One of Rethread Africa’s primary goals is to economically empower smallholder farmers. By sourcing agricultural waste directly from these farmers, the company has significantly increased their incomes. During the pilot program in Homa Bay County, Rethread Africa worked with 35 smallholder farmers and plans to expand this number to over 100 in the next two years. This additional revenue stream is crucial for their financial stability and growth, allowing them to invest in better farming practices and improve their quality of life. The approach fosters a circular economy where waste is transformed into valuable resources, ensuring that the benefits are shared across the entire supply chain.

Rethread Africa’s work has also led to job creation in local communities. From collecting agricultural waste to processing it into biomaterials, the company has created new employment opportunities. These jobs provide steady income and skill development for local residents, contributing to the overall economic growth of the regions where Rethread Africa operates. By investing in communities and creating sustainable employment, Rethread Africa helps build a stronger, more resilient local economy. The goal is to create 300 new jobs within five years.


The environmental impact of Rethread Africa’s work is profound. By converting agricultural waste into valuable biomaterials, the company reduces the amount of waste that would otherwise contribute to environmental pollution. This innovative approach not only minimises the carbon footprint of the fashion industry but also promotes sustainable farming practices. Using bioengineered bacteria to create materials ensures that Rethread Africa’s products are biodegradable, further supporting environmental sustainability. Through these efforts,

Rethread Africa aims to expand its pilot programs and research labs, enhancing its capacity to produce eco-friendly biomaterials. The company plans to establish more partnerships with industry leaders and global fashion brands to scale its impact. By continuously innovating and promoting sustainable practices, Rethread Africa is committed to leading the fashion industry towards a waste-free and environmentally responsible future.


This article was presented in collaboration with Impact Hub Nairobi.

Unleash your impact potential today

Join our free global membership for the latest news, resources, and inspiring stories of entrepreneurial impact. Sign up now and ignite your journey towards making a difference.

You also might like

Impact in your inbox!

Sign up for our free global membership perks, incredible opportunities and monthly inspiring updates!