Special Program for Recycling: “Resource Recovery – Made in NRW”
Population growth and rising consumption lead to a rapidly increasing volume of waste and, particularly in the developing countries of Africa, present acute problems. At the same time, the systematic collection and recycling of valuable materials is still not common: Often enough, members of the informal sector will sort recyclables at waste dumps that place considerable strain on the environment and endanger their health. Given the fact that there are few sanitary landfills, recycling as high a portion of useful materials as possible naturally suggests itself. In addition, the recycling of materials is an important source of income as well as a relevant contributor to climate protection and resource conservation. Modern recycling methods can achieve markedly higher efficiency in the recovery of recyclable materials and contribute to improved management of the circular economy, reducing both environmental pollution and health risks.
This is where the technical program for managers in Ghana and Kenya comes in—a project of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, and financially supported by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. “Resource Recovery – Made in NRW” is a technical program aimed at participant tandems, that is, recycling planners, along with their managers, of both public authorities and private companies involved in the waste management sector in Ghana and Kenya. The project also encourages the establishment of recycling collaborations between Ghana, Kenya and NRW. Its aim is to examine which type of recycling production can be carried out in Ghana or Kenya and where in NRW it would be useful to provide treatment, for instance, to ensure adequate disposal of toxic substances.
The participants engage in a hands-on experience of practical knowledge that will enable them to identify the existing recycling potential in their own jurisdiction and put it to sustainable use. In the course of this, they utilize specific skills and recycling facilities available in NRW. “Resource Recovery – Made in NRW” continues the one-world strategy of NRW by contributing to increased resource efficiency and climate protection, and, with the involvement of expertise from NRW, by promoting the construction of appropriate recycling structures in the partner countries. In the long term, the enhanced expertise will prove advantageous to the population in Ghana and Kenya because reducing the environmental and health damage from the disposal of toxic materials will improve their living conditions.
The program activities, based on practical examples in different municipalities in the state, gave recycling planners from Ghana and Kenya an introduction to the German system of the circular economy. The individual steps of waste collection, separation and recovery were explained and well demonstrated in field visits.
The participants from Ghana and Kenya were shown the widest possible spectrum of recovery options: from paper, glass, metal, synthetic, wood and plastic recycling, through the processing of organic waste into compost and biogas, all the way to the disposal of electronic waste—thus a host of valuable materials were taken into account. The full range of field trips was completed with visits to landfills and incinerators. These were, however, presented as costly emergency solutions, as the viable recovery of everything is preferable.
A total of 22 recycling planners from Ghanaian and Kenyan businesses and institutions (13 of which were from Ghana, and 9 from Kenya) took part in the professional program in NRW which was conducted from November 16th 2014 to December 13th 2014. The graduates, having gotten to know various recycling options, can now realistically assess the advantages and disadvantages and know what requirements must be met for high-quality recovery. In consultation with their employers, they have defined project ideas to be implemented after their return in 2015.
With “Resource Recovery – Made in NRW” a mutual learning process has been initiated. The participants from Ghana and Kenya – in dialogue with one another as well – will be assessing the new methods and techniques for their applicability in the context of their countries of origin. Following the program in NRW they will function as multipliers of knowledge by informing their colleagues in Ghana and Kenya about the knowledge acquired in Germany and putting exemplary new methods into practice. “Resource Recovery – Made in NRW” is conceived as “tandem training”. In order to increase the sustainability of the program, the corresponding management executives of the recycling planners were systematically involved in the flow of the program.
To support a continuous exchange of knowledge between program participants from Ghana and Kenya, a knowledge and cooperation platform with a database on a range of topics concerning the circular economy is currently being established.
Partners and Stakeholders
- Bundesverband Sekundärrohstoffe und Entsorgung e. V. (BVSE)
- Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)
- Informations- und Demonstrationszentrum erneuerbare Energien e. V. (I.D.E.E.)
- Institut für Energie- und Umwelttechnik e. V. (IUTA)
- Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre (KNCPC)
- Landesamt für Natur, Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (LANUV)
- Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia