The Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE) in partnership with SESA Recycling Limited, and with the support of Footprint Africa and the Ga-South Municipal Assembly on Saturday September 18 2021, marked the World Cleanup Day (WCD) with a community plastic buyback project at Kokrobite in the Ga-South Municipal Assembly of the Greater Accra Region.
The aim of the plastic buyback project was to sensitize the coastal community on proper waste management, plastic waste segregation, and giving inhabitants the opportunity to convert plastics into a resource by making profits from selling clean post-consumer plastics.
The buyback project comprised of waste sensitization exercises held on radio, information centres, and in the Sunbeam Basic School; a 6-hour plastic buyback event held at the Pentecost Church Park and the administration of household questionnaires to gather the perception of participants on household plastic waste consumption. Members of the team engaged community members by weighing and purchasing their plastics in exchange for cash.
Community members and schoolchildren who participated in the exercise lauded the initiative and were enthusiastic to have another buyback project organised in the community.
In all, over 200 residents, 60 schoolchildren, and their teachers participated in the exercise. The team recovered a total of 3003kg plastics (1902kg of PET, 566kg of LDPE, and 535kg of HDPE) from the plastic buyback project. Of this figure, 2,470kg will find their way into recycling as some were found to contain sands and stones. In total, thirteen (13) volunteers from various institutions participated in the exercise.
Speaking at the sideline of the event, Louisa Kabobah, the project manager on GRIPE stated that the initiative was to contribute to promoting sustainable plastics waste management and the circular economy in Ghana. She further noted that, the plastic buyback project was also to empower the community especially the women, with additional sources of income and to help recover plastic materials from the environment which otherwise, could have ended up in our gutters, landfills, and in the oceans.
“We are doing this as a means to engage the community, especially our school children and women and to involve them in the plastic waste picking process. We all agree that when women are empowered, their communities and the wider public are the direct and indirect beneficiaries, respectively. Women are more likely to channel cash from their livelihoods back into the upkeep of their homes compared to their male counterparts. This buyback exercise, is therefore a way of inculcating good sanitation practices among the youth, groom them to become the next generation of circular economy ambassadors, and to give women an opportunity to become financially independent”, Louisa acknowledged. Miss Kabobah, added that GRIPE is open to building sustainable and solid partnerships with credible organisations and individuals who are working in the plastic value chain and contributing to the circular economy and a waste-free environment in Ghana
On his part, the Environment, Health and Safety Manager from the Mohinani Group a member of GRIPE, Mr. Peter Agbo Gandee urged the community members not to relent in their efforts towards keeping the environment safe. He further urged the community to segregate their household waste to make the work of recyclers less strenuous.
Adding his voice to the environmental hygiene call, the Chief Executive Officer of SESA Recycling Limited, Mr. Christopher Gyan-Mensah said, the plastics value chain is a huge and complex one and as such, the role of the community cannot be under-estimated in the fight against waste in the environment. He mentioned that the selection of Kokrobite community for the 2021 World Cleanup Day buyback activity was strategic due to its closeness to the coast and contribution to making the marine environment clean. Christopher while challenging the community members to do more in gathering their plastic materials, disclosed that, with the support of GRIPE and other collaborating partners, similar buyback projects shall in the coming weeks be organised across various communities along the coast.
The community buyback project is a laudable initiative as it is educating the populace on effective plastic waste management as well as creating an avenue for the populace to make profits from their plastic waste. A special thank you goes to the Kasapreko Company Limited and GRIPE members for supporting the project with their products.
The Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE) is an industry-led coalition formed under the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) with a stake in the plastics sector to integrate sustainable waste management solutions, particularly around plastics. GRIPE was launched 2017 by FanMilk Ghana Limited, Guinness Ghana Limited, Unilever Ghana Limited, Nestle Ghana Limited, PZ Cussons, Dow Chemical Limited, Voltic Ghana Limited and Coca Cola Bottling Company. The Accra Brewery Limited, Pernod Ricard, Mohinani Group, KGM Industries Limited and Finepack Industries Limited, have since joined the coalition. The plastic buyback project is one of the several initiatives of GRIPE to raise awareness among deprived communities on sustainable household waste management, support households’ needs by giving inhabitants the opportunity to exchange their clean empty plastics for cash, and empowering communities, especially women with additional sources of income.
About SESA Recycling Limited
SESA Recycling Limited is a waste recovery company that is setting-up an incentive-based scheme for plastics, aluminum and other valuable waste.
About World Cleanup Day
World Cleanup Day is marked on the 3rd Saturday of September every year, to map the world’s waste and to engage 5% of the global population to collect it and contribute to the circular economy. It is world’s biggest civic action, powered by technology.