• Cordie Aziz

Cost of a Linear Economy

Did you know the average municipal assembly in Ghana spends $320,000 a month on waste disposal? To make matters worse only 40% of homes pay for waste disposal according to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. This means that each month many municipalities are struggling to pay for waste disposal. In the 2010-2015 National Environmental Sanitation and Strategy Action Plan the Ministry of Environment has encourage waste contractors and the public to look at recyclable materials not as waste but as materials in transition, also known as MiNT. However, nearly a decade later Ghana is still struggling to deal with its waste issue.

Many waste contractors argue that they don't have the resources to implement waste segregation at a residential level, but what role can government play to help alleviate some of the cost burden private companies assume when they start segregation. In the West, many government subsidize recycling services from tax money. However, with more than 70% of Ghana's economy still being informal and other competing priorities, the government often finds it difficult to raise funding for waste management.

However, can innovate partnerships with NGOS and smaller private sector players help fill the gap needed to implement recycling on a residential level? In Ghana there is a growing number of organizations that specialize in collecting only recyclable materials, such as Environment360. However, it appears that many waste contractors are reluctant to let new players in. The inability to create new partnerships that redirect waste from the landfill are in fact costing Ghana more in the long run. With less than 50% of trash collected each day, the Ghana health Sevice notes that 70% of all outpatient diseases are are a result of poor environmental sanitation. Kpone landfill is almost at its maximum capacity meaning that anew landfill is necessary. However, with limited land in the city limits the new landfill in Nsawam is less than desirable for most waste contractors considering of the distance of the facility. Undoubtedly, further distance means more gas, which means a rise in costs of waste management once again.

A linear economy may be easier, but as we see it is far from cheaper.


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