Ghana generates about 22,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually but only 2 percent gets recycled. A company in Ghana called Nelplast Eco is changing that. Its founder is Ghanaian engineer Nelson Boateng. He created his own recycling machine using scrap metal and started the company to recycle around 4,400 pounds of plastic junk. The Nelplast website says Boateng possesses “over 20 years of experience in the recycling industry.”
Nelplast is on the path to tackling the plastic pollution problem starting from the capital Accra. They turn all kinds of plastic waste excluding PVC pipes into paving blocks or tiles. These tiles or slabs are made from a combination of plastic waste which is first shredded and then mixed with sand. The resulting mixture looks like a paste – a new form of asphalt, making it easy to mould into blocks. This asphalt requires fewer natural resources to create, lasts a long time, and is resilient to boot.
“We humans are the problem for not finding a solution to the problem of plastic waste,”Nelson Boateng
Discarded plastic waste which pollutes the environment, clogs drains and threatens animal life is collected from across the city and taken to the plant for processing. Thanks to Nelplast, plastic waste can now have a new life and purpose as part of a road.
Ghana’s Ministry of Environment already has the paving blocks in one district, and it wants to help Nelplast scale up. In addition to helping clean up the environment, Boateng has created jobs; the company directly and indirectly employs over 230 people.
The company’s objectives include recycling “about 70 percent of plastics waste generated by the country daily into useful products that can be used for a lifetime” and it aims “to seek the interest of the environment first in all [their] processes.”
Nelplast says that its pavements are stronger and better able to withstand the elements than concrete or tarmac. The blocks can also be used to build roads. Since it takes plastic almost 500 years to start decomposing, there is no algae growing on the tiles unlike in concrete blocks.
Other countries building roads from plastic include India, the UK and Holland.
The recycled plastic tiles and pavements literally last a lifetime!
Will you build your roads and pavements using recycled plastic?