by Francis Tandoh
The management of solid waste has over the years been an albatross around the neck of city authorities in Ghana.
Heaps of solid wastes are thus a common sight on the streets and market centers as well as low income areas in major towns and cities across the country.
Particularly in the national capital, Accra, and Kumasi, Ashanti Regional (Province) capital, 270 km north of here, where over 4,000 metric tons of solid waste is generated daily, waste management departments still grapple with the collection of solid waste.
The capacities of the authorities have been greatly overwhelmed by the ever-increasing amounts of wastes at the urban centers, posing grave risks to human life and the environment.
Governments since the country returned to constitutional democracy in 1993 have tried to put various interventions in place to control the menace but all to no avail, as the increasing population has contributed to the increasing generation of solid waste.
Fortunately, a recycling company, Trashy Bags, located at Dzorwulu, a suburb of the capital, is now turning the country’s plastic wastes into valuable products such as smart bags, laptop bags, shopping bags and travelling bags.
Other products include note bags, vanity cases, backpacks, gym bags, purses, wallets, and shopping bags for everyday use.
The activities of the company have created employment for people in an around the national capital whose duty it is to move from street to street collecting empty water sachets, locally referred to as “pure water” sachets, and selling them to the company for ready cash.
Projects Director for the company Elvis Abolua shares with Xinhua the rationale behind the setting up of the company.
“The whole idea is that we all see the problems especially with recycling that we have and also that is creating big problem for the environment; so we think the future is about recycling so what we’ve been doing effectively for 8 years is not about the talking game but we practically demonstrate what we are capable of doing individually and as a group.
“So what we do here is that we do a practical demonstration to show that each and every one of us has a contribution to keep Ghana clean, to keep the environment clean to make it a better place.”
He explained to the Xinhua team the various processes that take place in the main factory.
Abolua says, apart from the company currently employing 40 people, it also contributes to saving the environment.
“We have a simple shopping bag even made out of water sachet and you can imagine one of them made out of 70 water sachets that would have been on the streets and elsewhere that is creating all the floods and problems that we recently saw here in Accra.”
Chief designer for the company, Kwame Acheampong, who has been working with Trashy Ghana for the past 8 years, shares his experiences with Xinhua.
“We have research department that we always think about Ghana waste and then go out there to search the waste and bring it and discuss with the design team and plan a suitable design for the material, so we always plan about Ghana waste and try to come up with nice designs to use it for fashionable things.”
According to him, his vision is to ensure the West African country is free from the solid waste problem.
“As a chief designer, I think a lot and plan a lot and it’s my vision to seeing a clean country.”
Joyce Tanoah, Quality Controller for Trashy Bags, explains how she goes about her work on routine basis.
“After sewing the bags, I check them before they go to the store room. The products are of good quality. Sometimes I do reject some of them for them to fix them back. I re-check and send them to the store room.”
A customer to Trashy Bags, Lama, explains why she has on four occasions patronized products made from solid wastes to the news team.
“Because they are recycled and eco-friendly…they have nice colors and nice designs and they think about the environment.”
Trashy Bags was established in 2007 as a social enterprise based in Accra specializing in making recycled eco-friendly bags and gifts from plastic trash.
The company currently employs over 40 local people to collect, clean and stitch plastic trash previously used to contain drinking water and other drinks into fashionable and useful bags and other products.
Trashy Bags is leading the way in sustainable development in Africa in the area of plastic recycling and has collected and recycled approximately 20 million plastic sachets since its inception.
Nearly 200,000 plastic sachets are collected on monthly basis and sold to Trashy Bags by a network of people for income. Enditem