STREAMLINING SORTING CENTER OPERATIONS - Pick- IT
Working at the Sorting Centre has been a great experience for the waste pickers over the past five months. They collected tons of various plastic recyclables from the Tema New Town community and the Kpone landfill site into the sorting centre. At the sorting centre, the recyclables are weighed, sorted and moved to specific parts of the facility where they are stored prior to their sale to plastic recycling companies. Carrying out these daily operations at the sorting centre has increasingly become labour intensive as the inflow of material to the sorting centre continued to increase. With the majority of the waste pickers working at the sorting centre being elderly women, it became difficult to lift and move heavy sacks of collected plastic waste around the sorting centre or to even weigh them. In addition, the increased flow of materials was resulting in high fatigue of the waste pickers due to the sorting of the plastics into specific categories. This was the case most especially for PET bottles where the waste pickers had to sort the bottle lids (PP) from the bottle itself which is PET. To ease of the high demand for manpower and considerable efforts required to carry out sorting activities, the waste pickers agreed to acquire certain equipiment and tools that would streamline their operations.
1. External Weighing Station: A new weighing station was constructed within the compound of the sorting centre. The weighing station incorporated a chain block mechanism in the frame work that enables the waste pickers to hoist bags of plastic waste to be weighed on a scale.
2. Trolley: A trolley was constructed with consideration to the size of storage bags used at the sorting centre. The trolley enhanced easier transportation of weighed and sorted goods to and from the storage lines.
3. Sorting Tables: Two sorting tables were designed and constructed. The sorting tables were designed in a way that allowed the waste pickers to easily separate bottle lids from the bottles, by simply placing sacks underneath the table to collect the lids that fall through holes in the table. Each table allowed for six to eight waste pickers at a time to sort.
INCREASE IN COLLECTION RATES
From the commencement of operation of the sorting centre, the inflow of plastic waste has steadily increased every month. The first 90 days of operation (July to September) recorded 3.3 tons of plastic recyclables being collected. In October the amount increased to 4 tons while November recorded a collection of approximately 7 tons of plastic recyclables into the sorting centre.