The Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE), in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Building and Road Research Institute (CSIR-BRRI), have built a sanitation facility constructed out of modified concrete.
The facility which is a six-seater Aqua Privy Toilet Facility block constructed with post-consumer plastics forms part of GRIPE’s commitment to demonstrate and provide a second-life solution to post-consumer plastics and to reinforce the fact that plastic waste is a resource which can be harnessed to unlock socio-economic benefits for the country.
The sanitation facility constructed in less than four (4) months, under the supervision of the CSRI-BRRI in Ghana’s Ashanti regional capital Kumasi involved the use of more than two (2) tonnes of plastics constituting a 3 percent mortar in concrete and 80 percent in pavement blocks.
The facility was this week unveiled and handed over to a school called the Domeabra M/A Junior High School in the Ejisu Juaben Municipality of the Ashanti region.
Dr. Ama Tagbor, Lead Consultant on the project, indicated that natural resources such as sand and chippings are getting depleted as a result of over exploitation and therefore using waste plastic to replace sand in mortar for construction contributes to preservation of our natural resources.
“I am excited to see our research brought to life by GRIPE. The project which adopts the use of plastic waste as concrete for construction purposes offers a huge opportunity for the demand of significant volumes of plastic waste every year for use as concrete block – a major building material in Ghana representing more than 80 percent of the built environment”, she said.
“Being a pilot research project, it is the expectation of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and GRIPE that scientific data generated from the project will guide policy formulation, further research and replication in other parts of Ghana”, she added.
Seth Twum-Akwaboah, CEO of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), speaking at the commissioning ceremony to unveil the facility expressed his excitement for the completion of the project which demonstrates the commitment of industry to proffer solutions for the plastic waste menace.
“Industry over the last two years has shown an active role in the areas of advocacy by hammering home the need to keep plastic as a key packing material, education and awareness on segregation of plastic among others. This project is our commitment towards showcasing that we can use plastic waste to achieve something useful. The facility we are witnessing today has significant amount of plastics in it and if encouraged and adopted, it will ensure that our plastic waste can be given a second life”, he added.
Speaking on behalf of GRIPE, Joyce Ahiadorme noted that GRIPE has over the past two years engaged various stakeholders to enable an ecosystem that drives collective sustainable action towards managing our post- consumer plastics.
“Today marks a great step into this journey of piloting second life solutions. With bold and ambitious goals of member companies, GRIPE is working towards value creation, proper plastic collection schemes and a sustainable financing model for such projects”, she added.
She further added that to provide sustainable management solutions to the ever-increasing challenge of plastic pollution in Ghana, the coalition continues to leverage the combined resources, experience and technologies of its member companies to enable, coordinate and support sustainable post -consumer waste management.
To this end, GRIPE in collaboration with the CSIR initiated the modified-concrete project in 2018 to reinforce plastic waste as a resource.
Nana Opoku-Agyeman, Krontihene of Domeabra, who graced the event also expressed his appreciation to GRIPE. He indicated that this innovation goes to show that plastic waste is a resource which can be reused to serve the needs of society and GRIPE has shown the way. He further urged the school to take care of the facility and ensure that it serves the needs of the school for years to come.
Mr. Philip Nii Ayi Ayikushie, Headmaster of Domeabra M/A JHS, thanked GRIPE and AGI for situating the project in his school and asked for more support for the school.
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 founded in November 2017 by eight (8) multinational companies with varied products with a proven track record of involvement in sustainability actions concerning plastics in other countries.
The founding members are Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana; Dow Chemical West Africa Limited; Fan Milk Ghana Limited; Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited; Nestlé Ghana Limited; PZ Cussons Ghana Limited; Unilever Ghana and Voltic (GH) Limited. Additional members include Mohinani Group, KGM and Fine Pack.