Use waste as resource, Prioritise regenerative resources, Collaborate to create joint value
8Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
11Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Recent statistics from a 2019 UNDP report indicate that only 2-5% of plastics generated in Ghana are recycled, while the rest end up in landfills, in the ocean or burned. Meanwhile, as a material, plastic has a wide range of applications, meaning recycled and reused plastics can replace virgin resources, even preventing deforestation where it can provide a substitute for wood.
Ibrahim Yougbare’s infectious passion for the environment led him to design his own machinery and start recycling plastics in 1999. Realising that he could use this material to make new products, he established Pyramid Recycling Enterprise as a company in 2007. Throughout this time, he has been inventing and testing products that can be sold in local and regional markets.
His main concern is to address deforestation and his most recent innovation is a prototype of a product that can be used in the place of wood in construction,which he has been testing for over 6 years.
Pyramid Recycling began by recovering plastic waste. However, they realised that this was not enough to prevent the plastic returning to the streets, as most was downcycled into plastic bags, used once and then ending up in gutters. Pyramid invented their own products such as curtain ropes, chair fittings (‘chair shoes’) and ‘wood plastics’, which they sell in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso. They recycle PET, LDPE, HDPE, PS, GPPS and PVC into plastic products. As one of the first to start recycling in Ghana, Pyramid has trained many others who have gone on to establish local recycling companies. Most pelletise and export plastics. Yougbare helped found the National Plastic Recyclers Union, which comprises 50 member companies. In addition, Pyramid has created livelihood opportunities that would not otherwise have existed, by training waste pickers, including many single mothers, who supply Pyramid and other recyclers with plastics, supplying 65% of the four to five tonnes of plastics Pyramid receives each week. The rest are collected from plastic producing companies, often from waste packaging. Pyramid’s innovative ‘wood plastic’ has been certified by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana.