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Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge


Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge

As with many urbanizing economies, Ghana's municipalities face significant challenges with solid waste management. There is a need for a new way to think about the issue of waste – not just from a management point of view but from the perspective of re-use at multiple levels as existing approaches are nowhere near sufficient to address the scale of the challenge, and because waste recovery and reuse offers various benefits. This involves thinking about wastes as Materials in Transition, which is only possible when there exists an operating connection between the waste generator and the second-life user. 

Under-utilized and un-managed waste materials pose serious risk to the environment and human health, with the greatest negative impact felt by the most vulnerable in society.  Alternatively, 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 evidenced-based planning by policymakers on sanitation management; enhance access to knowledge on best available technologies on waste valorization; make it easier to find/link to solution providers and off-takers; stimulate further research and innovation on waste valorization in relation to emerging demand and options; and build capacity of key personnel (local government, private sector, NGOs and Academia) to enhance sanitation management particularly at the decentralized level.

In this context, UNDP launched the first edition of the ‘Waste’ Recovery Innovation Challenge (WRIC) to provide about 8 projects with technical and financial support to promote and/or test innovative solutions for waste recovery or waste reduction/avoidance. It is expected that the ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform, once fully established and operationalized, will lead subsequent editions of the competition.


Plastic Punch


The projects being supported in the first edition 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 break-throughs in waste recovery, results of which can be turned into bankable and scalable business proposal.
  • Advocacy/awareness creation: Promoting the concept of resource recovery and its opportunities in Ghana in a circular economy context.


Challenge Winners

The 1st Edition of the WRIC was launched in 2019 in partnership with the Embassy of Netherlands. Meet our winners and their respective projects

Business Category    

AAE converts plastic and tyre waste materials into renewable energy via a closed-loop system to meet the local energy deficit.

  • Neat Eco Feeds Ltd 

    • Summary of project: The project involves collecting and recycling waste to suitable substrates to produce maggots and compost. The maggots are affordable, green and have sustainably high protein feed for fish, poultry birds and keets. Maggots’ feed serves as a perfect replacement for current orthodox protein product offering in the market and the farmer makes an economic gain in replacing fishmeal with maggot feed, thereby making an attractive investment. This innovation keeps abattoirs and communities clean and helps restore the quality of water bodies for livestock and humans.

      Award: Business advisory service from Ernst and Young and $39,200 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- July 2020

      Lead Person: Lincoln Winimi Peedah

      Contacts- Telephone: 0382097058, 0201331473, 0549972710


      Location: Bazunde-Zebilla, off Zebilla –Bolgatanga Road


      Neat Co



  • Nelplast ECO Ghana Limited

    • Summary of project: The project converts plastic wastes into useful building materials like building interlock pavement slabs and paving tiles, which effectively reduce environmental pollution and further decreases the problem of waste plastics in Ghana. Using both the print and electronic media the organization educates the populace on the effects of indiscriminate littering of plastic wastes, sensitizing the public on plastic waste menace. They promote the concept of plastic source-separation sensitization programmes to generate a direct source of income for waste collectors.

      Award: Business advisory service from Ernst and Young and $39,300 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- July 2020

      Lead Person: Nelson Boateng

      Contacts- Telephone: 0303970879, 0247277869

      Email: /

      Location: Plot No. 78 Katamansu, Ashaiman

      Plastic Punch



  • Coliba

    • Summary of project: This project seeks to deliver access to recycling services to inner and poor communities through the aggregators' program rolled out in coastal communities due to huge plastic waste pollution at shores. The project also extends recycling access to high- and middle-income homes through the extension of recycling centres bringing recycling centres closer and more accessible homes who want to recycle but have no recycling options by traditional waste companies.

      Award: Business advisory service from Ernst and Young and $28,000 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- July 2020

      Lead Person: Prince Kwame Agbata

      Contacts: Telephone:0243523824


      Location: 25 Dela avenue Abeka Lapaz, Accra Ghana

      Plastic Punch


  • Alchemy Alternate Energy

    • Summary of project:  The project seeks to process waste plastic, tyres and waste oils, which are recycled into RFO and has the capacity to and now further refine RFO1 into other higher-grade fuel oils which have a higher market value. The project provides a guaranteed market to waste aggregators who work directly with vulnerable community members in the informal sector. The project also seeks to increase the supply of raw materials/feedstock produced for sale to its customers, thereby increasing the volumes of RFO through an innovative plastic sourcing program. This results in improved incomes and livelihoods and provides an alternative source of income to people.

      Award: Business advisory service from Ernst and Young and $40,000 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- July 2020

      Lead Person: Seth K. Quansah

      Contacts: Telephone: 0272051157 | 0201748465


      Location: Prampram, Greater Accra, Ghana



  • Loo Works

    • Summary of project: The project aims at manufacturing container-based toilet solutions from Wood Plastic Composite by transforming plastic waste and sawdust to sturdy construction material to make panels for container-based toilet structures and biological digesters. The launch of the local manufacturing activities enables the provision of more jobs and benefits to the local community. Through partnerships, the project ensures that technical expertise is provided to encourage local manufacturing and moulding of wood plastic composite to develop additional products in a variety of industries.

    • Award: Business advisory service from Ernst and Young and $40,000 Grant

    • Award Duration: October 2019- July 2020

    • Lead Person: Samlara Baah

    • Contacts- Telephone: +233 555 207 495 and +1(202) 908-8215

    • Email:

    • Location: 11 Bamboo Street, East Legon, Accra 

Loo works
  • West African Feeds

    • Summary of project: This project seeks to create economic value by eliminating unsafe methods of organic waste disposal within water bodies, street corners and areas outside of Accra. Partnerships with local waste collectors, municipalities, and community youth ensure organic waste is acquired from households, faecal storage tanks, restaurants, breweries, and market centers which is used as organic material for black soldier fly larvae production (BSFL). Organic fertilizer and BSFL based animal feed produced generates revenue from horticulturists, fertilizer distributors, commercial farmers, landscaping firms, fish farmers, poultry farmers, pet food manufacturers and animal feed distributors.

      Award: Business advisory service from Ernst and Young and $26,000 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- July 2020

      Lead Person: Rose Serwaa Oduro

      Contacts: Telephone: 020 907 7546


      Location: 27 Agbotui Avenue, Madina

      West African Feeds


Research Category

  • CSIR IIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Institute of Industrial Research)

    • Summary of project: This project seeks to investigate the possibilities of blending palm kernel shell (PaKS) and plastic waste (synthetic rubber from waste tyres, PET bottles and packaging waste) as composition materials for road construction to form water-resistant bituminous surfaces and for paving public places to reduce the colossal amount of waste generation, reduction of dust and its associated problems emanating from these untarred roads. This research will seek to find innovative ways of reducing the cost of pavement construction materials whiles increasing their durability. 

      Award: $40,000 Grant

      Award Duration: November 2019- October 2020

      Lead Person: Dr Mutala Mohammed

      Contacts: Telephone: +233 279 318 852


      Location: Greater Accra Metropolitan Area 

      Plastic Punch


Advocacy Category

Environment 360 is focusing on mainstreaming circular economy culture in basics schools through the training of GES School Health Environmental Program (SHEP) Coordinators who will be equipped with tools such as posters, games and educational materials and curricula that can be used in classrooms to engage students.

  • Plastic Punch

    • Summary of project: The project aims at raising awareness about the plastic menace through the media by producing and broadcasting a series of short videos exposing the dangers of plastics. This project encourages viewers to reflect on these issues, making them understand that their daily actions have a bigger impact on the environment. The series will also broadcast practical examples of positive and impactful changes they can implement in their everyday lives. Suggestions and alternatives to current practices are provided in the videos in order to impact viewers’ behaviour, especially towards reducing their plastic blueprints.

      Award: $19,929 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- March 2020

      Lead Person: Richmond Kennedy Quarcoo

      Contacts: Telephone: 0244988412


      Location: 3rd Kwabenyan Close, Kotobabi, Accra

      Plastic Punch


  • Environment 360

    • Summary of project: This project seeks to make schools the motors of the circular economy and students, the future circular economy leaders by ensuring the campuses clean and healthy environments, not through hygienic behaviour and low-cost infrastructure built by students and staff. Also, transforming schools into living labs with students as researchers and creation of awareness, motivation and understanding of WASH+ issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene.

      Award: $28,595 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- October 2020

      Lead Person: Cordie Aziz

      Contacts: Telephone: 0244669851


      Location: H/No 30 Ecowas Road Madina, Accra, Greater Accra

      Plastic Punch


  • Arocha Ghana

    • Summary of project: This project offers opportunities for faith-based leadership to learn about real issues of environmental concern and how they can support and make informed decisions. This creates easy transfer of knowledge of environmental programs within their individual churches. The development and use of a web-based survey and award system which incentivizes congregations to institutionalize sustainable environmental actions and build active networks of faith-based congregation, leadership for effective faith-oriented waste recovery awareness creation and implementation of plastic collection schemes on church premises to transform the plastic recovery industry.

      Award: $10,000 Grant

      Award Duration: October 2019- March 2020

      Lead Person: Emmanuel Douglas Turkson

      Contacts: Telephone:0240910897


      Location: Accra

      Plastic Punch



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