Ban on plastics will not yield necessary impact – Boateng

BY: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey
Nelson Boateng
Nelson Boateng

A plastic recycling entrepreneur, Mr Nelson Boateng, says a ban on plastics will not create the needed impact on Ghana as long as people see the raw material as waste.

He suggested that the government should rather use policies and legislations to create an ecosystem which was inherent with incentives through which households could earn some income as they complied with the system.

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“For instance, people will naturally comply with waste separation at source once they see that there is money to be made. We at Nelplast experience this on a daily basis,” Mr Boateng, who is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nelplast Ghana Ltd, told the Daily Graphic in Bonn, Germany yesterday.

Approach

Mr Boateng’s company recycles used plastics by adding sand to mould various types of blocks and roofing tiles.


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His approach eliminates the use of cement as a bonding agent in concretes and makes the blocks 30 per cent cheaper compared to using the traditional cement.

Nelplast also designs and manufactures the machines and moulds used in the production factory located at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region.

The company gets its raw material (plastics) from individuals and groups who collect all types of used plastics from the environment and sell to the company at attractive rates for the production of pavement blocks and roofing tiles.

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Concerns

Mr Boateng said indiscriminate littering of the environment would still occur even if plastics were replaced with paper, once people’s attitudes remained unchanged.

“Banning plastics is not the best solution. We have to find a second life for plastics after using them, and this is what Nelplast is doing by recycling them into concrete blocks, pavement tiles and roofing sheets, thus creating jobs in the process,” he stated.

Ghana is said to be doing about seven per cent of waste recycling. Nelplast wants to scale up the number to 70 per cent to create more jobs and incomes for people, while providing efficient management of the environment.

Nelplast is part of a 20-man delegation which is touring parts of the North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) region, home to most industrialised cities in Germany. The NRW has a bilateral agreement with Ghana to help make several interventions, including assisting some Ghanaian cities in sustainable economic management.

The delegation has so far toured some waste recycling facilities, as well as the local administrative offices to understudy how Germany is applying recycling to waste management.

Due to the exposure in Germany, Mr Boateng expressed the hope that as long as there was political will to get plastics from the environment, Ghana could replicate the neat example of Germany, which is a leader in waste recycling in the whole of Europe.

“As we’ve seen in Germany, they have really used policies to encourage investments in recycling. But back home in Ghana, nobody pays attention to you, entrepreneurs do everything by themselves,” he stated.