Sustainability improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystem and preserves natural resources for future generations. The awareness towards environmental protection in Ghana is increasing -such as these projects fighting deforestation in Ghana– but is still lacking in many aspects. Fortunately, there are several initiatives of sustainable and eco-friendly projects in Ghana that are changing that situation.
The importance and effect of sustainability
Alongside this, job creation is one of the biggest challenges facing many African countries. In Ghana, many young people are in need of training and employment.
Introducing more sustainability into different businesses could be the solution to many problems, but the good news is that more and more young Ghanaians (and older generations too) are using their creative skills for survival.
Let’s have a look at the sustainable and eco-friendly projects in Ghana run by Ghanaians that are making an impact and changing people’s lives for the better.
Eco-friendly projects in Ghana by Ghanaians
Eco-Clean Ghana is a Non-Environmental Organization located in Wa-Bamahu, in Ghana’s Upper West region. They are dedicated to recycling waste and creating entrepreneurial opportunities for the more vulnerable – farmers, women, youth and schools in rural communities across Ghana, using permaculture and sustainable ecovillage principles to turn waste into useful products and create professional empowerment opportunities.
There is a saying that goes like this: “it is easier to raise a child than to repair a broken man”. Through this belief, they think that it is really important to educate the younger generations on sustainability, educating them on proper waste disposal, waste separation and the harmful effect of improper disposal on both the people and the environment.
With the recycled plastic they produce backpacks, laptop bags, phone purses, wallets, market bags and more! Check out their website to see the available products.
Bamboo Bike Initiative
As the name already suggests, Bamboo Bikes is dedicated to designing and building a range of durable bamboo bicycles & frames made out of 75% to 80% bamboo, with the belief that sustainable cycling is a way of living, not just a catch phrase.
Founder Bernice Dapaah, thought to herself “How best can we utilize our own local raw material such as bamboo to create employment as an inclusive business model—a business that can tackle environmental issues, social and economic issues?”. With this in mind, she founded this beautiful initiative a decade ago.
Bamboo is a hugely underutilized resource in Africa. Africa grows 12% of the world’s bamboo but accounts for just 1% of global bamboo trade. Bamboo Bikes was the first company to utilize the abundant bamboo in Ghana, also a material that didn’t need to be imported. For every bamboo plant cut down for a bike, the company plants 10 more.
This initiative has taught dozens of young people how to build bicycles, providing jobs in rural communities, especially for women and reducing migration to cities, where people go in search of a living, such as we have seen with the Kayayo girls for example.
Bikes also help cut carbon emissions from transport and it has donated hundreds to rural schools in areas where poor transport often stops kids getting an education – “For a child in a far away community, a bicycle could be the difference between success and failure in life” – Bernice Dapaah.
Nowadays, the Bamboo Bike Initiative products are also exported across the world, from the US to Japan.
Coliba was born out of a personal tragedy for founder Wisdom Kafui Honu, when one of his friends drowned in a flash flood in 2015. What was the root of the problem of that flash flood? Plastic-clogged drainage. That day more than 50 people died, also destroying properties, sweeping cars away and drowning passersby in the process.
Out of this tragedy, he thought to himself “why not recycle the plastics that take so much time to decay?” He was also aware of the fact that many people in Ghana are not educated on the fact that it takes hundreds of years for plastics to decompose in the soil. With all of this in mind, he co-founded Coliba Ventures.
Coliba 2.0 is the first African Mobile app designed to manage plastic waste across West Africa. It seeks to innovatively address the plastic waste pollution in the West Africa region through a franchise model that integrates Coliba Rangers (Waste pickers) into the digital platform that enables homes, institutions and communities to start and request recycling services with a click of the finger.
The company offers rewards of vouchers for fuel or for mobile internet credit to households that are willing to be part of the recycling movement. For people who earn less than $5 a day, they give them money or data in return for their plastic waste. The company then delivers the collected plastics to Ghana’s recycling companies, such as the Accra Waste Recovery Facility, an ultra modern recycling compost plant.
Koliko Wear is a company that makes high-fashion footwear from used fabrics such as used jeans, furniture woolens, bedsheets, jute sacks and rubber from used car tyres.
A banker by profession, founder Peter Kweku Anowie, saw this as a very cool and creative business opportunity, and resigned from his banking job to get involved in the shoemaking business full-time.
They engage skilled young people who have talent but do not have the opportunity to start their own business. Peter wanted to show them how to be financially independent, how to get something going so that they can improve their living standards.
Located in Takoradi, you can get your sustainable hand-made shoes delivered to anywhere in Ghana.
Ripples Interior Decor
“The best gift you can give anyone, especially the youth, is an example of a “can do” spirit and a world of possibilities – Jeffrey Kwabena Yeboah.
Jeffrey Kwabena Yeboah is a young Ghanaian and climate action activist who creates great products from waste in his environment. He seeks to inspire generations on the beauty and how productive waste can be to our daily life.
With the motto of “waste is the new gold”, Jeffrey founded Ripples Interior Decor. The whole inspiration for this business came when he was roaming the streets of Dzorwulu Junction in Accra in search for ideas into how he could make a more creative table design for a client.
One of the things he observed was how car tyres were disposed of in Ghana – through burning, without people knowing the harmful effects of this practice. Using car tyres that he collects from landfill sites and second-hand dealers, he now makes coffee tables, arm chairs, and other types of furniture.
Many of his clients order custom-made designs or select them from his furniture catalog. His prices vary from 200GHS to 1200GHS or $30 to $250 per piece.
Clients love it socially because it is locally made in Ghana and helps promote Ghanaian made products to the world.
Recycled Paper by Chance For Children
Recycled paper making is one of the various activities that NGO Chance For Children does. You can view their handmade products on their website, but we want to focus on their recycled paper specifically which is beautiful, locally made in Ghana and great sustainable alternative for product packaging or any other use you want to give (they currently make very creative postcards out of it as well which is available for you to purchase).
By purchasing sacks of paper waste from big multinational companies (at a rate of 50GHS per sack) they soak these paper scraps in water, mix it with dried pineapple crows (to add to its visual aesthetic) and process if through a local food grinder machine (followed by some other steps). Through a simple, but a little tedious process, you get beautiful, sustainable paper, handmade in Ghana!