Closing the Loop
Status: Complete (2021)
In Accra, Ghana, 3000 tons of waste are generated per day, 20% of it is plastic; 80% of waste end on the streets. Due to heavy rain fall, waste ends up in the oceans, washing up on the shores or being ingested by animals. Plastic bags and containers often clog gutters causing flooding. These issues cause significant impacts to local citizens and the environment. Multiple recycling operations have formed, but professional infrastructure and sustainable, large scale end markets are missing.
The ASASE Foundation was founded in 2017 and built a recycling plant as well as a network of local actors to address the issue of plastic waste while empowering the local community. The recycling plant processes LDPE water sachets and HDPE gallons into flakes. The collection and recycling processes are highly labor intensive and quality and volumes are inconsistent. Local entrepreneuers are using the recyclate (flakes) to make products such as bricks, shopping bags or washing lines.
The project, funded by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, consisted of economical validations and end market assessments. At first, we modelled all current and scale-up costs and revenues to consolidate the plant operations and enable continuous operation without subsidies. We then validated financing along the value chain and investigated potential design options such as EPR schemes. For the identification of new end market applications, we scouted and assessed end market applications for recyclate and developed business cases with local entrepreneurs.