The Ghana Clean-up Project

Background Information

RiverRecycle Oy, in collaboration with Beach Clean-up Ghana Ltd and Ambitious Africa, is implementing river cleaning technology to collect plastic waste in the Kpeshi Lagoon in Accra, Ghana. As a result of insufficient waste management systems, plastic waste often pollutes waterways flowing through the Accra metropolis and ends up polluting water bodies along the coast, like Kpeshi Lagoon, and ending up in the ocean. In Ghana, less than 2% of the 1.7 million tonnes of plastic generated annually is recycled, while 31% of uncollected plastics leak into the environment. The project aims to recover plastic waste from waterways, as well as the surface of the Kpeshi Lagoon, and process them to give them a second use, thereby curbing plastic pollution through its collection and through extending its longevity with recycling.

Through its partnerships, the project is making use of a paired land- and water-based plastic waste collection system with the assistance of local community members engaged in informal waste management. The collected high and low value plastics are used as a feedstock for mechanical and chemical recycling. The end products of the process are plastic flakes, plastic boards and pyrolysis oil that can replace virgin materials in the manufacturing process, thereby contributing towards a circular economy and allowing future plastics to remain in circulation for longer. Through this, the project directly contributes towards lessening the amount of plastic waste that is transported through water ways to coastal water bodies and into the ocean, improving marine ecosystem health and biodiversity.

RiverRecycle and partners embed community involvement in their project and commit to provide full-time positions to local workers as well as actively involve informal waste workers/waste pickers. This provides them with secured and additional income streams from the sale of low-value plastic and brings positive changes to their livelihoods. It also fosters an urban symbiosis as the project provides alternative, free-of-charge plastic waste management methods through these waste collectors for the local community and local businesses, thereby avoiding the plastics being burned, leaked into the environment or discarded in dumpsites and unhygienic landfills without a proper landfill gas capture system.

The primary outputs and targets for this project include:

  1. Reduce plastic leakages into the environment through having three river cleaning sites operational and recovering approximately 24 tonnes of plastic (240 tonnes of floating debris) annually.
  2. Increase the recycling rate, thereby contributing to the transition to circular economy and creating a closed-loop lifecycle for plastics – The project would strengthen the recycling climate, especially for low-value plastic through (i) achieving a recycling capacity of 330 tonnes of low value plastic, and (ii) increasing PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic collection and processing volume to 360 tonnes annually.
  3. Create 50 jobs for the local community and engage 200 informal waste pickers in our collection network.

Updates

Between January and April 2024, the project has successfully lifted 5 tonnes of floating debris, of which 1.5 tonnes was plastic, from the Kpeshi Lagoon. The plastic waste was transferred to the Beach Cleanup Ghana Facility for further processing and recycling. On-the-ground waste collection has also improved with the innovative use of tricycles for collections in areas inaccessible to trucks. This has necessitated the doubling of baling capacity, for which plans are in place, to improve storage management at the Nima Community Buyback Centre.

Collaborations between local communities in the area have been instrumental in driving waste collection efforts, particularly collaborations with the Assembly Man of Nima Municipality, the Market Trader Association of Nima as well as mosques and schools in Nima. This growing feedstock is contributing significantly to the businesses initiated under the project. The project’s PET and Plastic Board businesses are showing promise with two successful sales of PET, totalling 43.5 tonnes, as well as the receipt of expressions of interest from several major potential clients, including Coca-Cola, Nokia and BelAqua, for final plastic board products.

Connect with The Ghana Clean-up Project

Websites

Timeframe

January 2022 – March 2026

Status

Active

Countries of Implementation

Consortium Partners

Showcase Resources

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