One result from the onslaught of consumerism in modern society has been an increase in the amount of GARBAGE that is produced. The cost of operating and maintaining landfill sites has become prohibitive. Many Canadian communities have attacked this problem by reducing the amount of materials which are sent to the municipal landfills by sorting those materials which are can be recycled. The list of these materials has grown to include glass, aluminum, certain plastics, newspaper and cardboard. Community residents are also encouraged to separate biodegradable items and these are then composted. The recycled materials provide an economic opportunity, the reduced “garbage” at the landfill sites has created savings to municipal authorities, and the compost is a profitable commodity.


The garbage problem has become more and more evident in Ghana as consumer patterns change. Towns and villages which were at one time very clean are now filled with litter. The most obvious examples are the use of plastic bags in the sale of water (sachet bags) and other products (black poly bags). In addition, more and more plastic bottles and jugs and more recently aluminum cans are found in the marketplace and once their uses are exhausted, they are discarded.

Recycle 1

We can adapt recycling programs which are suitable to the Ghanaian situation. Plastic sachet bags can be gathered in point-of-sale containers and returned on the trucks that transport the water. Other plastic containers can also be sorted and gathered. Black plastic poly bags can be made with biodegradable components so that they breakdown in a reasonable length of time.

Compost-able matter can be collected separately from that which is not compostable, and once it has broken down, the results can be used for fertilizer for food crops. In larger centres where there is a large amount of biodegradable matter, methane gas can be collected off of these landfills and be used to generate electricity. (The city of Kumasi has already embarked upon such a program, although there has been no effort to separate biodegradable material from solid waste).