Funding Ghanaian eco-entrepreneur Ernest Nartey-Tetteh and his local recycling solution: EazyWaste

Deadline passed
Partner(s): Ernest Nartey-Tetteh
🇬🇭 Ghana
£3000

This proposal seeks to provide £3,000 in grant capital from our village pot to further the work of Ernest Nartey-Tetteh, a Ghanaian entrepreneur who is building EazyWaste - financially sustainable community recycling banks, which collect plastic packaging within communities and transform them into high-quality plastic pellets for re-manufacture. The recycling banks are operated and managed by community youth.

The plastic problem

Over 2.5 million tons of raw plastic is imported into Ghana annually, with over 70% resulting in waste. Since its inception, EazyWaste has reduced plastic waste in the community by roughly 145,000 kg total.

Ernest and his team have done this via a ground-up model that brings plastic waste recycling into communities.

This model is financially sustainable, straightforward to implement, and is easily replicated and scaled. It can create large-scale change wherever it is implemented, requiring only simple locally-made machinery.

The founding story

Ernest founded EazyWaste in 2017 after earning a Bachelors degree in Health Administration. He decided to dedicate himself to reducing plastic waste after he realised how serious of a public health issue it was while he was studying for his degree.

Ernest’s grandfather was once an informal recycler - he would see people trying to gather plastic waste to sell it to get an income. Unfortunately, the recycling centres were very hard to reach; people travelled many miles to access a single centre. On top of that, the income they generated was stunted by the high transport costs they had to bear to cover long distances.

EazyWaste was built upon Ernest’s grandfather’s deep understanding of the problem, Ernest’s expertise from his public health education and a desire to make local recycling easier.

EazyWaste’s first crusher was inherited from Ernest’s grandfather.

How the solution works

Collection

Within communities, informal aggregators gather plastic waste within their local area. These informal aggregators are generally young men and women who work within their community or surrounding communities.

Aggregators put the plastic waste into bags and bring it to one of the seven EazyWaste pick-up points - plastic waste is collected from these seven points weekly.

Payment

The bagged plastic waste is then weighed, and aggregators are paid per kilo of plastic waste they have collected/aggregated. Aggregators are paid according to the type of plastic and how clean the plastic is. The bags are then transported to EazyWaste’s community recycling site.

Sorting

The bag is sorted into colours and types of plastics by sorters at the recycling site.

Once the plastic is sorted by type, it is sorted by colour and cleaned if necessary. It is then crushed using the local plastic granulator to transform the raw materials into plastic pellets.

Progress to date

EazyWaste has one fully operational recycling centre at present and a second site that does not have a crusher, so it is currently being used as an aggregation centre.

Their current capacity with one working crusher is 4 tons a day, but due to an inability to collect enough plastic waste from the community cost-effectively, they are currently only processing 4 tons a month.

A single recycling centre can process 1,012 tons of plastic in a year at full capacity.

They currently sell plastic pellets to Recyclan, a UK and Nigerian based sustainable packaging solutions company that collects the plastic flakes. There are also Ugandan companies that seek plastic flakes to create new plastic products. According to Ernest, many Ghanaian companies rely on recycled plastic products to make household goods like chairs.

The immediate impact of this capital from Kwanda

Currently, EazyWaste does not own a means of transportation and therefore is dependent on hiring drivers and trucks when needed to transport the plastic waste and flakes.

A grant from Kwanda will allow EazyWaste to secure a means of transportation, which will increase the volume of plastic brought to the site as some communities are not within walking distance to the recycling site.

Wider Impact

By helping EazyWaste move closer to recycling 1,012 tons of plastic waste each year, we are supporting:

  • Training of local youth in technical and business skills

  • Increased incomes for local community members who work with EazyWaste

  • A reduction in the amount of plastic in the environment

  • Financial sustainability, which will provide a strong foundation for future economic growth