Plastic Recycling in Ghana
The presented research focuses on repurposing the large amounts of plastic bag waste present in Ghana. Much of this waste originates from water sachets, made from non-biodegradable plastic. The water sachets allow for potable water to be easily stored, accessed and transported. Ghana creates approximately 270 tons of plastic waste per day, with 85% of that plastic waste due solely to water. Less than 2% of this waste is currently being recycled. Water sachets have been the main supply of drinking water in Ghana for a decade, leading to an immense build-up of discarded plastic throughout the nation. Professor Chris Martin of the Iowa State University College of Design proposed recycling waste plastic from Ghana into chairs for schools in the area. This project was initially started by a senior design team in Materials Engineering and then continued by this research team in multidisciplinary senior design. The work over the semester focused on developing a simple and appropriate molding process for desk sized pieces in Ghana. Further work will focus on a heating implement and finalizing a desk design or similar application for the molding process.