The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced the winners of the first edition of the Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge (WRIC), organized in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands. The WRIC aims to provide technical and financial support to businesses and organizations promoting innovative solutions to minimize or recover waste. The announcement was made during the launch of the Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) by the Government of Ghana and the World Economic Forum.
For the business category, the winners are: Coliba (creating centres to collect and recycle plastic waste); Nelplast ECO Ghana Limited (using plastic waste to build pavement blocks); Loo Works (building toilet structures from plastic waste); Alchemy Alternate Energy (producing fuel from car tyres and plastic waste); Neat ECO Feeds (producing dried maggots from organic waste for poultry feed); and West African Feeds (producing organic fertilizer and black-soldier-fly-larvae based animal feed).
Under the research category, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will investigate the possibilities of using a mixture of plastic and agricultural waste in road construction material (bitumen) to make roads more durable.
There were no winners under the advocacy and awareness creation category. However, three NGOs were selected under this category for support to help them improve upon their concept. They are Plastic Punch (using snippets of drama to create awareness on waste); Environment 360 (promoting circular economy in basics schools); and A Rocha Ghana (promoting behavior change through faith-based institutions).
Speaking on a panel discussion at the launch, the acting Resident Representative of UNDP, Ms. Silke Hollander, indicated that the WRIC is a component of the ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform, an initiative being facilitated by UNDP with the aim of connecting stakeholders in the waste management value chain to promote partnerships and access to real-time data. She highlighted UNDP’s commitment to join forces with the Government of Ghana and important initiatives such as NPAP to help Ghana move towards the circular economy and reduce pollution from plastic and other types of waste.
The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his key note address emphasized the key role all stakeholders must play in ensuring the proper management of waste in the country. He commended UNDP for playing a crucial role in that regard.
“The Ghana office of UNDP is to be saluted for facilitating the establishment of the ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform in Ghana. It is a very useful instrument that will enhance stakeholder engagement and information exchange to support government and the people of Ghana in our journey to finding sustainable solutions for waste management”, stated President Akufo-Addo.
Winners expressed their commitment in tackling waste issues in the country and thanked UNDP and the Embassy of the Netherlands for the support. They pledged to use their innovations to contribute to effective waste management in the country. “We are grateful for the support and would want to call for more private sector investment in the value-chain to scale up waste recovery businesses”, Nelson Boateng, Managing Director of Nelplast ECO Ghana noted.
The Waste Recovery Platform has three other focused areas aside the Waste Innovation Challenge, they are; a digital platform made up of an embryonic waste map for Ghana and a mobile application for trading in waste; a convening mechanism for stakeholders to interact and share solutions to foster partnerships to facilitate waste recovery in Ghana and an advocacy and awareness system to create behavioural change.