Sustainable Recycling Industries – Ghana at WRF2021: upcycling and co-processing of waste tyres and other hazardous fractions
As Programme Partners of the World Resources Forum 2021, the Sustainable Recycling Industries – Ghana programme will organise and host the online workshop “Waste tyres and other hazardous fractions: solutions for Ghana in the nexus of upcycling and co-processing”, as part of the secondary resources conference track. The workshop will be co-led by the Mountain Research Institute (MRI), the Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre (GNCPC) and Oeko-Institut. In this short article, the workshop organisers tell us more about the context behind the session, what the workshop will be about and why you should attend it. Don’t miss it on the second day of WRF2021, October 13th, 15.30 – 16.20 CET!
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As a matter of introduction, what is the Sustainable Recycling Industries programme and how is it implemented in Ghana?
The Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) project Ghana is part of the global Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) programme, with participation of Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Colombia and Peru. SRI aims at building capacity for sustainable e-waste recycling by supporting national initiatives and implementing pilot projects. The SRI programme is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and is implemented by the Institute for Materials Science & Technology (Empa) and the World Resources Forum Association (WRFA). The SRI project in Ghana is implemented by the Mountain Research Institute (MRI), the Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre (GNCPC) and Oeko-Institut. Implementation is closely guided by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What’s the specific local context of this programme in Ghana?
With economic growth and increasing use of information and communication technologies, e-waste volumes are constantly growing in Ghana. Due to the absence of any specific management system, much of the e-waste is either disposed uncontrolled or collected and crudely recycled by the informal sector to retrieve valuable scrap metals such as copper, zinc, aluminium and others. The related recycling and disposal practices have severe adverse effects on human health and the environment.
The Ghanaian MESTI and its EPA have already recognized these problems a decade ago and started to consult with key stakeholders from science, industry, civil society and the international community on how to reform, transform and upgrade e-waste management in the country.
As a result, Ghana started to develop a regulatory framework, which led to the creation of the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act 2016 (Act 917) as well as the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Regulations, 2016 (LI 2250) both passed by the Parliament of Ghana. At the same time, Ghanaian decision-makers identified several focus areas where additional support was needed to improve e-waste management in the country. This includes:
- Encouraging and training of formal recycling industries;
- Developing of technical guidelines for collection and recycling practices and the training of auditors;
- Further development of a regulative framework and financing system based on the principle of Ex-tended Producer Responsibility;
- Assessment of hazardous fractions as well as sustainable solutions (e.g. used car tyres).
In this context, the Government of Ghana and the Government of Switzerland agreed to co-operate on e-waste related topics and to launch a bilateral co-operation within the larger Sustainable Recycling Industries Programme (SRI).
What will your workshop be about?
The SRI Ghana Team recently elaborated and published a baseline study on waste tyre management in Ghana, revealing two very relevant downstream options. On the one hand, Ghana has got a vivid community of waste tyre upcycling companies that, with the support of SRI, founded the Waste Tyre Upcycling Association of Ghana in April 2021. On the other hand, the SRI team, in Savannah Diamond Ltd. identified the only cement plant of Ghana collaborating to assess the possibilities for co-processing of waste tyres (and possibly other fractions such as plastics) as a replacement fuel instead of coal. SRI together with partners from Alternate Resource Partners (ARP) established a trustful cooperation and already conducted a pre-assessment on co-processing.
In this workshop, the SRI Ghana team seeks to discuss this nexus between upcycling and energy recovery of waste tyres, also in the the context of Act 917. Furthermore, the aim of the workshop is to make the audience familiar with environmental and economic benefits of co-processing of waste fractions (in particular used tyres) and sketch a pathway towards successful implementation.
What excites you about being a program partner of WRF2021?
The World Resources Forum (WRF) is one of the most established international platforms towards environmental change in the world. In the SRI Ghana project, we are convinced that co-processing of waste fractions such as used tyres or e-waste plastics in the cement industry can be a very effective component to reduce CO2 emissions as well contributing to more sustainable solutions for waste, not only in Ghana but worldwide. However, there is also a number of barriers to overcome to implement co-processing such as in terms of investment costs, policy making and general awareness. Hence, we are looking forward to discuss the concept as well as implementation of co-processing, not only from the Ghanaian but also from an international perspective with stakeholders from policy making, industry and research from all over the world.
Finally, let’s conclude with a call for action. Why should participants attend your workshop and for whom would it be particularly interesting to attend?
Our workshop on the nexus between upcycling and co-processing of used tyres is particularly interesting for (1) policy makers in the field of waste as recycling management worldwide, especially from the perspective of the necessary identification for solutions for (hazardous) waste fractions as well as decreasing CO2 emissions, (2) participants from the recycling industry worldwide, especially for operators of cement plants and other recycling facilities, (3) upcyclers of used products, in particular with regards to viable business models as well as (4) participants from the general academia and research.
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The World Resources Forum 2021 (WRF2021), under the theme of “A Green Deal for Sustainable Resources” will take place on October 12-14 in an innovative hybrid format: three days of online sessions and two small scale-events in Accra (Ghana) and Zürich (Switzerland). All the workshops, such as the one organised by the Sustainable Recycling Industries – Ghana Programme, together with all scientific sessions and plenary sessions will take place online, in a dedicated virtual event platform. WRF2021 is co-hosted by the Ghanaian Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN/BAFU).
Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this exciting session and learn from all the participants.