Only two percent of plastic trash in Ghana is recycled, according to a video from the World Economic Forum (WEF) – but one local company is hoping to change that statistic. Nelplast Ghana Limited, which focuses on industrial processing, is turning plastic bags into pavement blocks that can be used to build roads. And it’s not just plastic bags than can be utilized, but just about any kind of plastic garbage.
Thanks to Nelplast, plastic bags can now have a new life as part of a road. Nelplast shreds the bags and mixes them with sand to create what WEF describes as “a new form of asphalt.” This asphalt requires fewer natural resources to create, lasts a long time, and is resilient to boot. And it’s not just plastic bags that can be utilized, but just about any kind of plastic garbage.
Network engineer Nelson Boateng is behind Nelplast; online publication Konbini said he developed the asphalt, which is comprised of 60 percent plastic and 40 percent sand. 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.”
WEF’s video said 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.
Nelplast aims “to seek the interest of the environment first in all [their] processes.” For example, the company also sells plastic roofing tiles and offers consulting in launching recycling companies. Their objectives include recycling “about 70 percent of plastics waste generated by the country daily into useful products that can be used for a lifetime.”