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Update Liati Wote plastic recycling program March 2020

This is a project update by Rob Handgraaf (board member SSFA) and Jacqueline Aarnts.

A year since we had been in Liati Wote and, although we have had many updates and pictures throughout the year, it was great to see, with our own eyes, all the things that have been done. Many waste bins in the village and along the trails to Mount Afadjato and the Tagbo Falls, real nice mural paintings and a room full with stored plastic that has been picked in the village and on the trails. Furthermore, the Green Club, to educate the youth, has been installed. It was great to be back.

During our 1 month stay in Ghana, we had a very good meeting in Accra, with 3 members of the Tourism Management Board of Liati Wote, together with Cindy (President of SSFA), Apollo (Director, Jolinaiko Eco Tours) and Wisdom (The Project Manager). Furthermore, we had, together with Wisdom, a fruitful meeting with the Sanitation Committee in Liati Wote. The members of this Sanitation Committee are very motivated inhabitants of the village who believe in a clean Liati and they put a lot of time and effort in dealing with the plastic waste. We also saw the extra, big waste bins that will be installed very soon along the trail and near the school.

What are we going to do with this waste?

Used water sachet. Used water sachet. Until now the plastic waste has been stored (temporarily) in an empty classroom in the school and, logically, we have now come to the question:
‘what are we going to do with this waste?’ and ‘is there a possibility to generate income out of the waste, in a sustainable way?’

Last year we were very focused on building a shredder, according to the Precious Plastic principle, and either sell the shredded waste in Accra or keep the shredded waste till the next Precious Plastic machine would be built, to melt the plastic and make products. However, after investigating the volume and type of plastic waste, collected over a year, and due to the challenges of building the machine and the cost of transporting the shredded plastic waste out of the community to Accra, we have concluded to explore other options for now.

We, the Sanitation Committee and the SSFA/Jolinaiko team, have decided to take a different path and try to use the plastic waste to make products (to be sold), locally in Liati Wote, in an alternative way.
To do this, the first step will be to separate:

a). the plastic pur water sachets and
b). the plastic PET bottles.

A. Water sachets

The water sachets (and there are many of them in and around Liati) can be cleaned and cut open to obtain sheets of plastic. With a sewing machine the plastic sheets can be sewed together to be transformed into products. Or, using an iron, they can be melted together to get thicker, stronger plastic sheets that, again, can be used to make products.

Gideon Dodea at work sowing plastic sachetsGideon Dodea at work sowing plastic sachets.We have invested in a sewing machine (with accessories) and in an iron and Gideon Dodea has, with the help of a Dutch volunteer, learned to use the sewing machine. In only three days, he has made a shopping bag, a complicated toiletries bag and a sun cap. In the coming months he will develop his skills and teach these skills to inhabitants that are interested in the proces of creating things out of plastic. The Sanitation Committee is involved in selecting the first seamstresses and tailors who are interested and would like to learn some of these skills.The final goal is selling the products to generate income for the project.

Drying of the water sachets.Drying of the water sachets.

Gideon Dodea at work sowing plastic sachets.Gideon Dodea at work sowing plastic sachets.

Toilettries bag made of water sachets.Toilettries bag made of water sachets.

Sun cap made of water sachets.Sun cap made of water sachets.Sun cap made of water sachets.

Bag made of water sachets.Bag made of water sachets.

B. PET bottles

We are investigating the possibility to use the plastic PET bottles, filled with sand or other materials, to build walls. This has already been done in various countries so we know it is possible and we should start soon to do some experiments.

Overall, we were very happy to be back in Liati Wote, see all the developments since last year, meet all the motivated people that are working on the project and help this project to become a succes. Together with them, we are thinking about the next steps to be taken to make Liati a true clean village. Dream. Plan.Do. Dream. Plan.Do.It is great to be involved in bringing this program to the next level and try to generate some income.

When we left the village we had a dream: wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a little shop in the village, on the way to the trails, made of plastic PET bottles, where the products, made of the water sachets, could be displayed and sold?

We keep on dreaming, planning and doing!

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