Earth Day 2022: UKGCC and Trashy Bags collect plastic waste on Labadi Beach to mark the occasion
The UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) and its member, Trashy Bags Africa, have undertaken a clean-up to rid Labadi Beach of plastic litter in commemoration of Earth Day 2022.
The day which is celebrated every year across the world every April 22 is themed “Investing in our Planet”.
No less than 60 volunteers combed the shores of the beach and collected by hand almost all the plastic waste that had been discarded indiscriminately. Some of the members are from Aqua Africa, sister company of Trashy Bags Africa, as well as members of other partner organizations.
The exercise was twofold; being part of approximately 193 countries commemorating the day which aimed to highlight climate change as well as leverage plastic waste as raw materials for recycling into sustainable, iconic bags.
Bin bags, in 2007, saw the value of plastic waste which has become a canker especially in West Africa and the need to create climate-smart solutions with it.
Speaking to Joy Business, Managing Director of Trashy Bags Africa, Philip Foster said his company is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said, “The goals are always hard to achieve, but one thing I will say is that we are striving to achieve the adopted SDGs.”
“We take them very seriously because they have become policy and law.” Mr. Foster added.
Trashy Bags Africa has joined the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, pledging to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Trashy Bags boss and Aqua Africa founder Philip Foster says his company is committed to creating jobs that will have a positive impact on the environment (green jobs).
Since its inception, the company has collected and recycled 30 million bags, with 200,000 plastic bags collected and recycled each month by more than 40 full-time employees.
According to Mr Foster, giving value to plastic waste supports the government’s commitment to a Ghana beyond aid by promoting a ‘Trade not Aid’ approach.
Trashy bags Africa is embarking on a growth plan to expand and export the Ghana brand internationally, increasing the business to other locations as well as to other sub-Saharan countries experiencing similar waste challenges, addressing several of the main UN SDGs to protect the planet.
The company has so far penetrated quite a number of advanced countries around the world.
“We have a beautiful environment, we export bags across the Americas, to Switzerland, across Europe, to the UK and as far as Australia and New Zealand and these bags are waste that we have collected in the universities, the streets, the sea we make them here and ship them around the world,” says Mr. Foster.
For his part, Trashy Bags Africa Country Manager Bright Biney expressed his optimism about the sustainability of the business.
He says the company is working to unveil a well-thought-out plan on scaling IT operations – a move that should dramatically increase productivity and increase headcount.
Meanwhile, COO Elvis Aboluah said his team is embarking on several environmental awareness campaigns at various institutions to enlighten the minds of skeptics on the relevance of plastic waste.
“Here we have to relieve our environment of waste because in Europe people understand that it is not just a bag, but that they are buying something that has an impact on the environment and which would have been in the street or on the beaches.” He added.
The UKGCC has expressed its commitment to educating businesses on the SDGs. He says he will continue to provide support to companies that instill environmental sustainability into their operations.
Executive Director Adoba Kyiamah said in an interview “we believe there should be zero waste, so we encourage businesses to strive towards a zero waste position”.
However, she called for long-term actions to end marine pollution.
“Some of these actions should include reducing our use of single-use plastics, supporting legislation to curb the production of non-recyclable plastic and plastic waste.” She added.
Rubby Golo, volunteer and founder of Global Trade Consult, said education about environmental solutions should start at home. She said it was necessary for parents to teach their wards about the importance of proper management and separation of waste generated in homes.