Local authorities in Ghana are grappling with the problem of large quantities of waste produced due to rapid urbanisation. The local authorities lack the capacity to handle and manage this waste in a clean way, which has seen many recycling firms spring up. However, this has not solved the problem as there is a lack of coordination and communication about how this waste is collected, handled and disposed of. The impact of this has hit vulnerable women and children the most and exposed them to diseases and disasters. The lack of accessibility to information about the available waste management services has added up to losses of almost $2.8 million.
“We are a circular-economy driven cleantech company that is leveraging on localised strategies and adaptive digital technologies to promote waste recovery,” said Benjamin Agyin Turkson, the CEO of ASA Nwura.
The company was founded in 2020 and has its headquarters in Takoradi in Ghana. It has grown and currently has 11 full-time employees. Its solution to the problem is to connect with recyclers and waste off-takers and then share with them effective practices on how to source recycled plastics. The business recovers waste that could easily decay and turn into harmful biohazards that leak and contaminate the soil and water. It also creates social and economic opportunities for local residents.
“We are using a more localised, community-based approach that is rooted in transparency, accountability and ethics. We use an adaptive USSD platform that is easily accessible to even those without a smartphone or Internet access. We also have strategic partnerships with recyclers and manufacturers, which enables us to have the ability to control price fluctuations of recoverable materials and then offer those who collect waste fair prices,” said Mr. Turkson.
“We provide cloud-based waste management solutions that help municipalities, households, property managers, institutions, and recreational centers to sustainably manage their waste in a manner that is safe and sound,” he added.
The way the platform works is that when an individual wants to dispose of trash, they use USSD number *836*22# and ASA Nwura is able to identify and locate the seller. They then deploy field staff to collect the waste materials. They also have a website www.trashymall.com which targets high-level trash providers with a minimum of 3 tonnes of waste.
The company has scaled its operations to ensure that its waste collection process is digitised to make it fast and seamless.
ASA Nwura has three different tech products. Trash Safe is used to ethically recover plastics, paper, glass and aluminum scraps. Agro Trash is used for recovering agricultural waste and turning it into organic compost. Trashy Mall is an online market store where recyclers sign up to get real-time updates as well as partnering with high volume waste aggregators to source waste materials.
Their all-in-one USSD platform seeks to connect all key players along the waste value chain from waste producers and haulers, to recyclers and manufacturers in order to ensure ethical and sustainable recovery of waste.
“We generate our revenue from direct sales of recovered recyclables and upcycled materials. We also earn commissions on transactions made on our online waste market store,” said Mr. Turkson.
The company targets to have 25,000 customers by scaling up in all 14 major communities in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis and to 4 major municipalities within the Western Region. It also hopes to have franchises in other parts of the country within the next 3 years.