GHANA’S PLASTIC PROBLEM: FAILED EPR
The Ghana Plastics Action Partnership (GPAP) cites only 5% of plastics in Ghana are recycled. More interesting, is in 2019 Ghana plastic imports totaled $499.85 million dollars (United Nations, COMTRADE). Low recycling rates and the high volume of plastic imports definitely complicates the plastic conversation. In fact, it is a major contributor to Ghana’s failure in developing a functioning Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system.
After forming the Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE), large multinationals quickly shifted from solving the plastic issue to ensuring importers and other plastic producers are paying their fair share. The result, was the ad-hoc creation of a failed producer responsibility organization (PRO).
PRIVATE SECTOR ALTERNATIVES: DRIVE DEMAND FOR RECYCLED PLASTIC
European EPR systems clearly illustrate how private sector can support plastic collection. However, EPR is not the only way to increase plastic collection. In 2022, Environment360 launched its Circular Innovation Hub to develop high quality products from waste streams. The Hub not only provides technical training and technology to support zero waste communities, it also develops value chains for products created.
Recently, international fashion house, Osei Duro became the first official partner of the Hub. This unique partnership drives demand for recycled products, while reducing the amount of plastic imported into the country. Transforming plastics into valuable products locally is good for the environment and the economy. Driving demand for locally recycled products, increases the local price of plastics. This, in turn, incentivizes waste pickers and other members of society to collect more. The result, is a variety of jobs created, both directly and indirectly.
Undoubtedly, EPR is essential to fight plastic pollution. However, there are other opportunities to engage private sector. Developing local technology, innovation and partnerships can drive the local economy, increase plastic collection and create symbiotic relationships that support the sustainable development goals.
To learn more about the Circular Innovation Hub please click here