Opinion: Waste as a resource to curtail waste

Single use plastics have been accepted almost worldwide as a convenient mean for food packaging. They came in to replace the traditional materials formerly used for this purpose.

This is mainly due to the plastics ability to properly protect food and goods as well as their inertness as durability. Despite all this benefits, one can say, the damages caused by these plastics to the environment outweighs the benefits. Worldwide, plastics have become a nuisance and contributes to a huge percentage of the worlds waste.

They pollute the land as well as water bodies and this comes with a lot of inconvenience. It has also come to light the micro plastics that find themselves in aquatic habitats end up being consumed by fishes and other aquatic animals and that can have a dire effect on these animals. It is with respect to this that several companies and individuals have take it upon themselves to find a lasting solution the general waste problem facing the world.

With increase in population, there is an equally increasing demand for packaged goods. This includes packaged foods, artwork, engineering works among others.

As said earlier, plastics (polyethylene and PVC) are mostly accepted for the packaging of goods due to their preservation capabilities, ability to protect goods, low prices and the ease with which they can be conveyed. Due to the synthetic nature of plastics, they are generally hard to degrade when discarded. With continuous discarding of these plastic wastes, and due to their inability to degrade quickly, the wastes accumulate over a period thereby becoming a waste problem.

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In recent years, the desire to reduce plastic waste accumulation and the introduction of biodegradable packaging materials have become the utmost goal of some companies and individuals. Furthermore, the massive increase of waste on the land is not the only issue facing the human population. There is the issue of influx of these wastes into the water bodies.

The pollution of the water bodies go a long way to affect aquatic life such as agal growth. These algae are the primary producers in an aquatic habitat and are responsible for the production of about 40% of aquatic oxygen. The accumulation of waste on water bodies also inhibit gas exchange between the water and the atmosphere. This tends to increase the acidic content of water bodies due to CO2 accumulation.

It is in light of this that Reusable Bags Gh has taken it upon themselves to also join the fight against waste in the country.

Reusable Bags Gh is an organisation which focuses on putting in effort to tackle climate change and environmental pollution issues. They are passionate advocates for a plastic free environment. Their vision is to help achieve the sustainable development goal (SDG) 6 which talks about clean water and sanitation, SDG 13 which focuses on

climate action and SDG 17 which deals with partnership for the goals. Although recycling can help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or the

ecosystems at large, only few societies have the technology to carry out this recycling process. Moreover, the process of recycling these plastics go a long way to pollute the environment, especially, the air. The job of Reusable Bags Ghana is to use this waste (both plastic and textile) from various market places and landfills to make school and shopping bags which can be used for a long period of time this involves a process called upcycling. This comes in to replace single use plastics.

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The use of textile waste to make usable bags requires little energy and is environmentally friendly as well. Aside the making of bags, reusable bags Ghana are into the distribution of these bags to less privileged children who are in rural areas and can’t afford school bags. For instance, Reusable Bags Gh. has been able to make and distribute over 320 bags among schooling children of Kitase, E/R and Dibisi, N/R. Furthermore, the company looks to provide jobs for a lot of people, especially women who are unemployed by providing training.

From the discussion above, it can be concluded that the disbanding of the use of single use plastics alone cannot reduce the issue of pollution arising from waste mismanagement. The method of upcycling can also be adopted to supplement the act of recycling of waste. Furthermore, upcycling does not only serve as a means of reducing waste but can also be used as a means of employing a lot of people.

Reusable Bags Ghana has taken it upon themselves to educate the populace on the relevance of upcycling and waste management in general.

With the support from individuals, NGOs and other corporations, reusable bags Ghana will be able to expand its reach to several areas of the country such as market places and areas in need of education where there is the need to educate the individuals on the need for waste management and also the several materials that can be manufactured from this waste materials.

By Patience Mary Awlavi


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