Description – background and objective   

As with many urbanizing economies, Ghana's municipalities face significant challenges with solid waste management. There is a need for a new way to think about the issue of waste – not just from a management point of view but from the perspective of re-use at multiple levels as existing approaches are nowhere near being able to address the scale of the challenge and waste recovery and use offers various benefits. This involves thinking about wastes as Materials in Transition, which is the case so long as there exists an operating connection between the waste generator and the second-life user. 

Under-utilized and un-managed waste materials pose serious risk to the environment and human health, with the greatest negative impact felt by the most vulnerable in society.  Alternatively, when connections – pathways and avenues – are created and known, waste materials can journey from where they are not needed, to where there is a need, creating economies and livelihoods.  Waste materials can be used in replacement for new materials, preserving our natural resources and slowing climate change.  The activity of assisting waste on its journey to a valuable resource can create millions of good jobs across society, especially for marginalized citizens. 

It is against this background that UNDP is facilitating the creation of a digitally enabled multi-stakeholder platform to connect key stakeholders with data and technological solutions for resource recovery.


  • Facilitate more cost-effective and transparent access to ready data for evidenced-based planning by policy makers on sanitation management;
  • Enhance access to knowledge on best available technologies on waste valorization;
  • Make it easier to find/link to solution providers and off-takers;
  • Stimulate further research and innovation on waste valorization in relation to emerging demand and options;
  • Create an online market place for waste resource exchange
  • Build capacity of key personnel (local government, private sector, NGOs and Academia) to enhance sanitation management particularly at the decentralized level.

Expected Impact

  • Demonstrate the potential economies of scale for waste recovery businesses whilst meeting social and environmental needs. This could be a basis for scaled up public and private investments in waste recovery;
  • The data and innovative tools made available by the platform can help to increase investor confidence in the waste sector through the ability to make scientific-based economic decisions and bring in needed resources necessary for scaling-up;
  • Create an online market for recycled products and /or export/import of valuable waste streams, thus helping other initiatives to be more viable/scaleup;
  • Facilitate stronger connections between the formal and informal sectors through innovative apps but also provides the opportunity for the informal sector to formalize and scale -up;
  • Provide a space for engaging citizens to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and thus be part of the circular economy.

Accomplishments – progress and key achievements (as of January 2019)

  • Through the initiative, Ghana now has a platform that convenes on a periodic basis, all key stakeholders in the waste management value chain to discuss issues of common interest to enhance their operations and explore opportunities for partnerships.  This functional platform has improved coordination and communication among key stakeholders on sanitation management.
  • Through the platform, some key stakeholders have been able to form new partnerships for waste recovery in Ghana. For example; two active members, namely Voltic and Coliba (a local start-up collecting recyclables), have partnered on a new initiative called IRecycle, to establish plastic collection centres in partnership with Total Ghana to enhance plastic waste recovery.
  • There has been increased awareness on opportunities for waste recovery in Ghana through information shared on the initiative’s activities.
  • Increasing investor confidence in the waste management sector due to the availability of the platform to address concerns, provide updated data and provide potential partners with experience on the market. 

Programme Document: 

Please see the programme document is here


The project is funded by the UNDP Country Investment Facility with a seed funding of  USD500,000.

Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge - Call for Concept Notes

Kindly visit here for the 1st call for concept notes from the private sector on the ‘Waste’ Recovery Innovation Challenge (WRIC). 



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