The Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge (WRIC)
As with many urbanizing economies, Ghana’s municipalities face significant challenges with solid waste management. Under-utilized and un-managed waste materials pose a serious risk to the environment and human health, with the greatest negative impact felt by the most vulnerable in society. When connections – pathways and avenues – are created and known, waste materials can journey from where they are not needed, to where there is a need, creating economies and livelihoods. Waste materials can be used in replacement for new materials, preserving our natural resources and slowing climate change. The activity of assisting waste on its journey to a valuable resource can create millions of good jobs across society, especially for marginalized citizens.
It is against this background that UNDP is facilitating the creation of a digitally enabled ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform to connect key stakeholders with data and technological solutions for resource recovery. This is expected to: facilitate more cost-effective and transparent access to ready data for evidence-based planning by policymakers on sanitation management; enhance access to knowledge on best available technologies on waste valorisation; make it easier to find/link to solution providers and off-takers; stimulate further research and innovation on waste valorisation in relation to emerging demand and options; and build the capacity of key personnel (local government, private sector, NGOs and Academia) to enhance sanitation management particularly at the decentralized level.
Under the Platform, the ‘Waste’ Recovery Innovation Challenge (WRIC) was launched to provide technical and financial support to business, research and advocacy projects promote and/or test innovative solutions for waste recovery or waste reduction/avoidance. This is an annual activity that is expected to be implemented once resources are available. The first edition was implemented in 2019 and the second edition in 2020.
The projects being supported under the WRIC fall under three categories:
- Private sector/businesses: Providing a sustainable solution to an existing waste management challenge in a specific area; demonstrating the potential to be bankable and scalable; having the potential to create employment.
- Research: Investigating innovative ways and scientific breakthroughs in waste recovery, results of which can be turned into a bankable and scalable business proposal.
- Advocacy/awareness creation: Promoting the concept of resource recovery and its opportunities in Ghana in a circular economy context.