Ghana: a place for innovation
Used electrical appliances are not merely waste. Creative people like Sandy are using them for materials in their own work – even to build 3D printers.
Recycling old electrical appliances helps protect the environment and saves costs. Creative minds can give old appliances a new lease on life. Local production offers scope for innovation and solves a challenge, because people are quick to get rid of old and broken household appliances such as fridges and toasters. Germany produces around 20 kilograms of electrical waste each year – per person. That adds up to more than 1.6 million tonnes throughout the country. Some of these waste appliances end up in Ghana.
For Sandy, a young Ghanaian, the circular economy is a solution that enables components to be used again and that saves resources as well as providing the opportunity to manufacture products locally. ‘At the moment, we tend to consume rather than produce,’ he explained. ‘I want to change that.’ He is doing that as a developer in an innovation centre in Ghana, where he turns used appliances into new ones, making use of components such as antennas, cables and sensors. Particularly impressive is the 3D printer he built himself to print spatial models of houses and machines.
Local support: individual, creative, focused
The circular economy works by examining and repairing used items such as fridges and toasters and reusing parts that still work. The focus is on the economical use of resources. ‘We strive for sustainability at all stages of production,’ said Sandy. ‘To do so, we keep on developing and carrying out research.’ He is receiving support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which is working to improve waste management in the country. GIZ advises Ghana’s Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
To share his knowledge, Sandy also works as a trainer and passes on tips and tricks to others. His favourite subject is dismantling components. GIZ has launched relevant training courses. It uses trainers like Sandy to support young men and women from Ghana and to disseminate knowledge more effectively. So far, a total of more than 4,000 people have been trained in the project and more than 100 tonnes of electrical waste have been recycled.