GHANA – Trashy Bags, a local waste recycling company is driving sustainability in Ghana by converting plastic waste into reusable products.
Located in Dzorwulu, a suburb of Accra, the company utilizes plastic collected from the city to make trendy bags, including laptop bags, shopping bags, traveling bags, school bags, vanity cases, backpacks, gym bags, purses, and wallets for everyday use, made from used plastics gathered from the streets and households.
Elvis Aboluah, the company’s project director, said Trashy Bags is a social enterprise into manufacturing through recycling and upcycling products both for local use and export, noting it mainly focuses on devising sustainable ways of ridding Ghana of the plastic waste menace.
“Plastic waste is a huge threat to nature, not only in Ghana, but it has become a global problem that seriously affects the environment, the ocean, landfills, and impacts agriculture and livelihoods of animals and humans negatively,” added Aboluah.
“We need to get on top of the challenge through recycling to arrest the massive volumes of these plastics that find their way into different parts of the environment.”
The company’s recycling idea originated from small plastic sachet bags that contain drinking water, the most common way for local people to quench their thirst.
In the meantime, large quantities of abandoned bags scattered along the city streets have also become a common sight.
Aboluah added that the company had been operating for 15 years, deploying various modules to deal with the plastic waste menace bedeviling the West African country.
He said one of the factors driving the project was giving people a reason to collect used plastics from the streets and homes to help keep the country clean. “Once there is value for it, people are willing to collect used plastics.”
“We collaborate with schools, institutions, and members of the surrounding communities who collect used plastics and sell to us for some income,” explained Aboluah.
With the support of some charity, he said the company hoped to distribute at least 10,000 school bags to different schools in different parts of Ghana and hopefully in the neighboring countries this year to help the students in impoverished areas.
Aboluah noted that in that regard, the company still needed support from other corporate organizations to help expand the work and deepen the impact of keeping the country clean.
This comes at a time when Ghana generates 12,710 metric tonnes of solid waste daily, and only 10 percent of that is collected and disposed of properly, according to official data from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
“Plastic waste constitutes a large proportion of urban waste, and there is the need for effective and integrated solid waste management systems that respond to the complex demands of cities,” said the UNDP in a report on Ghana last year.
In the past few years, Ghana has seen a few enterprises of different scales coming up in the recycling area like Trashy Bags to contribute to building a cleaner country.
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