From Trash to Cash

Ghana is crazy about plastic. The more bags the better and no customer will walk away without at least one “rubber” around their products. At the same time the bags are becoming lighter and lighter to save the shop owners money and often the bag barely lasts to reach its destination and can never be used again.

Not so long ago, before the flood of cheap plastic, reached Ghana, things were very different. People went to the market with a basket and most of the foodstuff  was wrapped in paper or banana leaves. One had to send his or her own plate  buy food or another option will be to eat the food at the joint. We bought water stored in pots and drank from cups provided by the sellers. Inorganic waste such as plastic take up to 1000 years to decompose while Styrofoam and plastic bottles can last up to 1 million years!

988851_10201967805502201_7711222178165908092_nGhana, has a waste management problem and unless we change habits it will only become worse. Last year ,the Achimota dump site was decommissioned as a result demonstrations and heels of deepening public outcry over the dumping of Accra’s solid waste in the sub-urban community. As the country look for alternative land for dumpsite, we should also consider promoting segregation and recycling of waste. A change of behaviour  towards the environment will go a long way to solve part of the problem, by practising the three R’s which include recycling, Reusing  and Reducing.


Some plastic companies like Blow Plast Company Limited and Tenlong Company  have taken  recycling initiative by buying plastic waste from people. The plastic waste is recycled to make other plastic products.


Hipsters of Nature has already identified many sellers in the market who are in need of used bottles. Papa Kofi sells used plastic bottles, containers and sacks at the Mallata Market. He buys clean recycled materials from scavengers and pay them depending on the quantity supplied.


Davi also has her shop in the Mallata Market. She buys used plastic bottles, glass bottles, sacs and used containers from scavengers who are popularly called ‘Korluba’. The Korluba business used to be dominated by men but now women have also joined in the business by collecting drinking sachet bags and bottles on the streets and selling them to recycling companies. She has been in the business for 15 years and uses the money she makes to support her family. She does not realise that her work is helping save the environment as she lamented that people call her all sort of names because she is in the trash business . We explained to her that she is doing an honourable job and promised to supply her free bottles on our next visit.


Hipsters of nature intends to creates several recycling centres in Accra and build a chain of supply. This will help recycle plastic bottles, protect the environment in our country and also provide businesses with sustainable, environmentally friendly materials.

When we segregate our waste it saves the Korluba man or woman the time ,money and energy he uses in washing the used bottles that get mixed up in all the waste.

Do you have any plastic bottles you would like give away or  interested in partnering with us in this project?


8 thoughts on “From Trash to Cash

  1. Hey! With Hope for Life, small association for and with people with disabilities, we would like to implement in the organization to do something water sachets and plastic bottles. I am relatively new in Ghana, so I have no idea of the possibility of recycling or collect. Can you help us?

    • Hi Adeline,
      Nice to hear from you. We are currently setting up collection points for water bottles/sachets at various locations around the city. Depending on how many bottles you can collect per week it might also make sense to collect these from you directly. Kindly let us know so we can make a plan.
      Regards, HoN

      • Hi HoN,
        Thanks for the answer. We don’t have a lot, it is only when we have meeting (once or twice a month) that we have waste. In September, we want to open the guest house for the people with disabilities, so we will have more consumption, even we have a filter… So for the moment, if you let me know where are the collections points, we can come sometimes. We are located in Gbawe – Mallam.

    • Hello Green Ghanaian,
      For all bottles are being re-used, we still looking for companies that recycle the bottles.Do you know any company that recycle bottles? We are would like to partner with you in our next project,may be we can meet and talk more?I guess because the rain you couldnot make it to our event at Labadi.It was really cool because the school kids were excited and they won lots of prizes.

  2. Hi HoN,

    Great initiative indeed! I am a Dutchman working for a Dutch water company in Ghana and noticed that pollution (mainly plastics) has a big impact on water bodies that are also used for human consumption. I was happy to learn of your organization (from Baltazar) and see that you already answered some questions I was investigating and also have a network with people recycling.

    I want to pitch this challenge/opportunity at a meeting for Dutch companies in September and hopefully get some attention or interested parties/companies to expand (plastic)recycling in Ghana. Could I use some of your pictures and information?

    Unfortunately i am already leaving Ghana this week (18th of July) to come back end of September. Hope to hear from you.

    Best, Toon

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