The 'Pick-it!' project aims to improve both recycling rates in Ghana and the living and working conditions of waste pickers, bringing structure to the recycling industry and federating plastic users and producers around a circular economy.
Why does it matter?
In Greater Accra today, 50% of plastic ends up as litter and the other half is sent to landfill sites where around 5,000 waste pickers work in dire conditions to sort the waste and earn a living. As a way to reduce significantly the risks of plastic pollution and clogging, the Ghanaian government has considered a ban on flexible plastic.
How does it work?
Danone Ecosystem Fund, FanMilk and its local and international partners, Environment 360°, WIEGO (a global network acting for the empowerment of informal workers, especially women) and the MIT D- Lab (a program of the Massachusetts institute of technology addressing global poverty challenges), co-designed the 'Pick-it!' project which aims to find a solution to plastic waste management, while professionally empowering waste pickers and improving their living conditions. The project has created a sorting center to divert waste from landfill and improve waste pickers’ working conditions. It fosters the organization of a waste picker movement to develop their capabilities and help them to engage with key public stakeholders.
How does this project create value?
'Pick-it!' increases the recycling rate of plastics, lowers pollution and encourages the recognition of waste pickers’ role in society, as well as improves their working conditions and allows them to benefit from health insurance.
“My name is Emmanuel Morladza, I am 33 years of age and hail from the Volta Region. I am married and have 2 beautiful kids. I started waste picking 6 years ago when I lost my job due to some unforeseen circumstances. I heard about the Pick It project and decided to be a part of this wonderful initiative and it has really been a life saver for me. I was really struggling to make ends meet since the only thing I did was picking from the dumpsite. By joining the Pick It Project, I have been able to learn some vocational skills like carpentry and other things to help me cater for my family when there is not enough materials to pick at the dumpsite. The training has increased my confidence and I am looking forward to more benefits from this project. I would like to send my appreciation to all the people who are making this project possible and we are going to put into use whatever we have being taught.”
Emmanuel, Supervisor of the pick-it sorting center, Ghana
Photo credit: © Ana Carolina Mendes Ussier