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Closing the Loop
Closing the Loop
Closing the Loop works by supporting local entrepreneurs from vulnerable communities in the coastal city of Accra in Ghana. The model is simple and effective. Plastic waste is collected and sold to CASH IT!, regrinded, and sold to be reused in products such as household or building materials. Not only are the waste management issues alleviated in Accra, but the unlocked value of plastic waste is channeled back to these communities in the form of jobs and new income streams.
City: Accra, Ghana
Partner: ASASE Foundation
Overview
For our first project in Africa, we partnered with a non-profit organisation, the ASASE Foundation. It is the brainchild of two women from very different walks of life: Hilda Addah, a Ghanaian social worker passionate about helping her community, and Dana Mosora, a Romanian chemical engineer with decades of experience in the packaging and plastics industry. They bonded over a dream to help Ghanaian women entrepreneurs play a key role in cashing in on the plastic waste of Accra for the benefit of their own communities.
ProjectsProject

Together, Dana and Hilda started the first CASH IT! recycling facility at the end of 2018 in the Katamanso district of Accra, and processed 35 tons of plastic waste by the end of 2019. The model is simple and effective. Plastic waste is collected and sold to CASH IT!, regrinded, and sold to be reused in products such as household or building materials. Not only are the waste management issues alleviated in some of the most vulnerable communities in Accra, but the unlocked value of plastic waste is channelled back to these communities in the form of jobs and new income streams.

Closing the Loop has created over 100 new jobs in the local recycling sector. Meet Frank Agyekum, a Ghanian craftsman employed by CASH IT!. Since early 2019, Frank has been helping to build and repair the machinery essential to the plastic waste processing operations in the facility, using what materials he can source second-hand from scrap yards and markets in Accra. With the guidance of Dana Mosora and Peter Segers, an Alliance project manager and secondee from SUEZ, Frank has built and repaired shredders for hard and soft HDPE plastics, washing drums from repurposed concrete mixers, and a dehydrating unit for HDPE sachets.

Co-Founder of ASASE Foundation
"What we value most in our partnership with the Alliance is the access to the expertise in waste management, which we can leverage now in our project, effectively multiplying by a good factor the impact of the funding provided by the Alliance to our project."
Innovation in Adversity
With Frank’s tenacity and hard work, bolstered by our funding and expertise, the facility’s processing capacity improved almost 15-fold in 2020 to 500 tons. It is estimated to quadruple to 2,000 tons by the end of 2021. Despite the global health pandemic—which acutely affected the informal waste picker community and slowed down the supply of recyclable plastics—the team forged ahead to drive impact from afar.

As one of many loaned executives from our member companies, Peter brings over a decade of experience at SUEZ and a wealth of expertise in waste management issues. With Closing the Loop, whilst it was the first time Peter was working in Ghana, the importance of adapting to local circumstances was clear. “When looking for solutions, you have to find something that fits the local need,” said Peter. “You could bring in expensive equipment from Europe or China, but once we finish the project, how will the equipment be maintained and used? It’s better to use the materials available to make something that is fit for purpose and can last,” he added.


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