“PLASTIC POLLUTION DOESN’T WAIT”
The clock strikes 6am. Accra, the capital of Ghana is waking up to the sound of cockerels and Ernest is on his way to meet the Eazywaste team. His eyes on the road, his mind already set on the goal for today: making sure the team visits as many households as possible to pick up plastic waste. “It may well be Corona times, plastic pollution doesn’t wait”.
Africa, which has the world’s highest population growth rate, has a poor record of managing waste, with only 10 per cent of its waste reaching the dumps* and the rest left in communities or burned in acrid bonfires. Of the collected waste only 2% is recycled. This plastic mismanagement is largely due to the lack of education, proper waste management policies and recycling facilities.
Whereas we have only just (virtually) met young entrepreneurs Ernest and Bernard, it is immediately clear that these changemakers dream big. To tackle Africa’s ‘recycling gap’, the founders of Eazywaste have built a profitable company on recycling plastic waste by collecting it from communities, institutions and households, processing the plastics and selling them to manufacturing companies. But the founders don’t stop there. They are embarking on a successful journey to change waste culture in Ghana through education and advocacy projects about the consequences for health and the environment. It is their mission “to sensitize every individual in Africa about the dangers in plastic mismanagement whiles making them realize the value in recycling and reusing these plastics through income generation and employment”
Due to the pandemic and following the lock-down, people do not visit the Eazywaste collection points in community centres anymore and a barrier to collecting plastic prevailed. Therefore the Eazywaste teams have stepped up their game and found a creative solution to this situation “If the plastics don’t find us, we will find them”. Via a digital chatbox households indicate when and where plastics can be collected, after which a truck embarks on the plastic route of the day. “We follow the directives from government, protecting ourselves and our customers”.
Why EAZYWASTE is different from other waste collectors? “In Accra, governments don’t collect plastic waste, this is in the hands of private companies. We are different because we are located in the midst of the communities and we pay the households a fair price for the plastic we collect. Being a former public health specialist, Ernest acts for the cause, not just the profits”. Currently, Eazywaste is embarking on the “Your Waste Your Wealth” journey which is targeting 500 high schools within the greater Accra region of Ghana to educate them on proper waste management practices by cultivating the Recycling and Reuse attitude.
What a great cause to wake up for everyday, keep it up Eazywaste team!