Black Excellence: Meet The Wastepreneur Behind Ghana’s First Building Made From Plastic Waste

by Duke Magazine

Across the globe, plastic waste management is one of the itching discourses getting the unweary attention of policymakers, governments, and stakeholders on how to provide panaceas to the bane of waste disposal, mostly ending up in the oceans. 

This problem is gross in developing, although some African governments are already putting structural initiatives on ground to curb the persistent menace of plastic waste.  

For instance, in Ghana, the government has recently imposed a one percent sanitation levy in order to generate revenue to deal with sanitation in the capital city, Accra, and across the country. This will in turn properly manage how wastes are generated and disposed. Also, at the micro-level, several individuals have been doing their bits to revamp the status quo of plastic waste challenge by converting them into various products.

A Ghanaian entrepreneur is however leading the way in the secondary usage of plastic waste. Unlike many who recycle plastic waste into bags or other handy products, Nelson Boateng, who is the founder of Nelplast Ghana Ltd, uses plastics as ‘concrete’ to build roads and houses.

In an interview with Ghanaian journalists Portia Gabor, Boateng revealed that he used some 13,400 kilograms of plastic waste collected from gutters and beaches in the country to build a house. Indeed, it is regarded as the first house to be constructed using plastic waste in Ghana.

The 36-year-old began the initiative between 2015 and 2016 when there was fierce media debate on the need to ban plastic waste so as to make the city clean. “When the government was trying to say let’s ban plastic and I also heard the news that plastic is choking gutters, causing flood, deaths and other things, I also felt very bad,” he said.

Driven by the motivation towards environmental sustainability, Nelson came up with an idea that would be more conservative and usable in such a way that it will not cause further pollution.

He set up a bricks manufacturing center that converts plastic waste into blocks for building. The bricks, Nelson explained, are not made with mortar and have the ability to withstand earthquakes or tremors. According to him, the plastic blocks could also be used as foundation bricks in waterlogged or salty areas.

However, he ascertained that the bricks are designed in such a way that they provide a cool temperature.

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