The Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE), in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research's Building and Road Research Institute (CSIR-BRRI), has handed over a sanitation facility built out of improved concrete to the Domeabra M/A Junior High School in the Ejisu Juaben Municipality.
The six-seater Aqua Privy Toilet Facility block constructed under the direction of the CSRI-BRRI in 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.
It was created with post-consumer plastics which forms part of GRIPE's pledge 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.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Dr. Ama Tagbor, Lead Consultant on the project, stated 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), also expressed his excitement for the achievement of the project.
“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 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 said.
She further noted that to provide sustainable management solutions to the ever-increasing challenge of plastic pollution in Ghana, the coalition will continue to leverage the combined resources, experience and technologies of its member companies to enable, coordinate and support sustainable post -consumer waste management.
On his part, Nana Opoku-Agyeman, Krontihene of Domeabra, 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.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included Ms. Heather Troutman of the Global Plastic Action Partnerships (GPAP), the Municipal Chief Executive of the Ejisu-Juaben, among other stakeholders.