empty bottles

Developing a recycling economy in Ghana

Processing plastic waste fairly
and economically

CONTEXT AND CHALLENGES

Untapped potential in the African waste management sector

On average, only about 55 per cent of waste was formally collected in urban areas in Africa in 2012, and only about 4 per cent was recycled. Waste management and recycling are therefore promising sectors in which development goals and business opportunities intertwine with the common goal of accelerating the transition towards a circular economy in African cities.

Ghana has a robust democracy and is an anchor of stability in Western Africa. The country achieves significant economic growth and is politically stable. Apart from the economy, the population is also growing by more than 2 per cent a year, which is leading to a significant increase in the consumption of plastic products and thus to an increase in plastic waste. It is estimated that the generation of municipal plastic waste (excluding industrial, institutional and commercial sources) in Ghana is growing by 5.4 per cent per year. According to the Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP), around 1.1 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated in Ghana every year, of which only 5 per cent is collected for recycling.

More than 95 per cent of all plastic waste recovered for recycling is processed by the informal sector. This means that traditionally marginalised groups in Ghanaian society in particular have a chance to participate in the country’s economic growth.

PROJECT APPROACH AND PROJECT GOALS

Training in waste collection and processing

In cooperation with the partner company Rodiek & Co. GmbH in Bremen, Germany, the project supports the Ghanaian company Tidyup Ghana Ltd., which has been active in waste management in the country for the past 15 years. As part of the project, one of the company’s waste transfer stations, which had been shut down, was reopened and converted into a collection hub for recyclable waste streams. In another step, municipal collection points were linked up to the project, thereby expanding the network of waste collectors for Tidyup while stabilising the use of materials.

In addition, a concept was developed to enable the purchase of recyclables from the informal sector at a fair price that reflects the work involved. In 2021, 45 waste collectors – 90 per cent of them women – were trained in the collection and treatment of plastic waste, particularly PET and LDPE films. Here, emphasis was placed on maintaining the quality of the material flows as well as optimising transport in order to achieve guaranteed and above-average wages for the waste collectors. At the same time, the waste collectors were registered via a digital platform. This means the collected materials can be traced back along the entire value chain, thereby also ensuring the payment of fair wages.

The project aimed to stabilise material flows by training waste collectors on how to identify and handle the various materials. This helps guarantee reliable quality while meeting Tidyup’s quality requirements and establishing safe distribution channels. In addition, the waste collectors received training on how to work safely under COVID-19 conditions.

STATUS AND OUTLOOK

On the way to a circular economy

This project has highlighted one way of turning a plastic and environmental problem into a regular source of income with better working conditions. It supported the creation of a local circular economy, and - just four months into the project term - Tidyup has so far been able to collect and separate four and a half tonnes of plastic. This is equivalent to about 230,000 bottles: 56,000 bottles a month or 1,900 bottles a day. By establishing collection structures, it will also be possible in future to guarantee reliable material deliveries with consistent levels of quality. This will lead to stable business relationships and increasing demand, regulated incomes and, in the long term, the establishment of a functioning circular economy.

Tidyup is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the partner company Rodiek & Co within the framework of the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" and develoPPP. develoPPP is a funding programme run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Project details

Project status

Completed

Project locations


Ghana Accra

Project objectives

Circular economy improve working conditions

Sector

Other

A project with

Companies

Partners

Rodiek & Co

Contact

We are looking forward to hearing from you

Under the Invest for Jobs brand, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has put together a package of measures to support German, European and African companies in investment activities that have a high impact on employment in Africa. The Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" – the official title – offers comprehensive advice, contacts and financial support to overcome investment barriers. The development objective is to work together with companies to create up to 100,000 good jobs and to improve working conditions and social protection in its African partner countries.

Partner countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

Find out more about our services for companies, universities, chambers and associations: https://invest-for-jobs.com/en/offers

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