Photo: brahim Youg-barewith Dana Mosora
We have exciting news this month for ASASE Foundation! As you may know, our goal as a non-profit is to assist Ghanaian women entrepreneurs who will play a key role in cashing in on plastic waste trash in Ghana (the “CASH IT!”). We want to support a circular economy for recycling, where we sell our products to companies that can reuse our products for other materials.
This is where Pyramid Recycling Enterprise of Cables and Wireless comes in!
This year on May 27th we signed a Memorandum Of Understanding between the ASASE Foundation and Pyramid Recycling on which base ASASE is giving Pyramid Recycling the money to build a new plant in the Weija-Gbawe Municipality and equip it with the necessary equipment to make plastic lumber. We got this money as part of our grant, co-financed by the European Union and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, for our current project “Closing the Loop of Plastic Packaging in Ghana-Phase 2”.
All LDPE (water sachets, bags, films), HDPE (plastic bottles, milk jugs, shampoo bottles), and PP (plastic containers, household items, etc. ) will be purchased from the ASASE’s CASH IT! plants and Pyramid will turn the waste into plastic lumber. This will support our circular economy project for the plastic collected and reprocessed by our operations so that we can create sustainable solutions for diverting plastic waste from litter.
Ibrahim, the vision behind Pyramid
Ibrahim Youg-bare (known in the industry as Alinko) is a dynamic entrepreneur: he is very innovative and enthusiastic, with a strong passion for working in the plastic waste management sector. Through this, he contributes to the preservation of the environment in Ghana and creates more employment, especially for women.
As Ibrahim, the CEO of Pyramid, focuses on circularity and the community, his recycling company manufactures sustainable products made with 100% plastic waste materials. From his profession as an engineer, he also provides consultancy services in machinery, machine operation, and maintenance. Prior to founding Pyramid Recycling, he was the Managing Director and Engineer at Heater Plastic Limited from 1996-1999. He has over twenty-five (25) years of experience in the recycling of plastic waste. He is the perfect fit for what ASASE is looking to accomplish.
Ibrahim started Pyramid in 2007 as an informal enterprise that ventured into the production of curtain ropes from waste plastic that was collected by female waste pickers. The business was a pioneer in this field and initially processed less than one ton of plastics per month. Production of chair fittings was added and over the years the business expanded to a throughput of twenty (20) tons a month.
Ibrahim’s latest innovation is Plastic Lumber: a wood replacement made from 100% plastic waste. Pyramid had started small-scale production of plastic lumber when ASASE Foundation first approached them, which made us recognize the value of using collaboration in the recycling value chain. ASASE wanted to go a step further and think about the production of end products in the circular economy.
See our interview with him:
What made you so passionate about plastic waste and recycling?
Sometime in the ‘80s, I saw that a lot of the plastic waste in Ghana was being burned. At that time, we started hearing about damage to the environment, including air pollution. We were told that our children might not get clean air to breathe. That made me think about how we could use the plastic waste for something else, and that led later to the production of curtain ropes from waste plastic.
Why plastic lumber?
For the curtain ropes we only use two types of plastics, and I started thinking about how other types could be used because they were still being burned. And by that time I was also not impressed by how a lot of the plastics that were recycled to make polythene bags, mostly ended up in the streets. Plastic lumber uses a lot of plastic waste and keeps them out of the environment.
Tell us more about how you help women do jobs that are mostly taken by men in this industry.
At Pyramid, we mainly employ women and they operate all our machines. I train them, but most of all, I encourage and empower them. I keep telling them that what a man can do, a woman can do better. That helps to boost their confidence and be able to try new things and discover what they can do.
What are you looking forward to most in the collaboration with ASASE?
I am looking forward to expanding our production of plastic lumber and having good quality materials to work with.
What do you see needed from the Ghanaian ecosystem to help initiatives like yours thrive?
We are now gaining recognition from the government, but recycling is not yet a fully recognized industry in Ghana. As local recyclers, we should get electricity subsidies, and tax exemptions also should be real. There also should be more training opportunities for workers, as the sector employs many low-educated and low-skilled workers who cannot easily find employment elsewhere.
So how did all of this come to be?
“I met Ibrahim when I first visited his place in Darkuman in 2017. This is when he fascinated me with his innovative mind and his dedication to plastic recycling and training women to strive in the field.
He and I seemed to get along so well from the beginning that I felt we got to find our way into a solid collaboration.
Once I just told him: “show me what you can do from plastic waste, make some prototypes to convince me and I will look for money to help you get started.”
He believed me and the next time I visited him he had his first plastic lumber prototypes. This is how it all started.”Dana Mosora, Founder and Managing Director of the ASASE Foundation
We hope our collaboration will continue to create awareness of the cash value of plastic waste, in the communities we serve and support our efforts to end plastic waste in the country of Ghana. Creating sustainable solutions is a key part of the recycling process and it takes us one good step closer to cleaning up our environment.
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