The case study by Kumasi Hive will explore the activities of actors involved in e-waste management and how their activities align with the concept of circular economy. The research areas of the case study are Agbogbloshie and Aboabo. These are known scrapyards in Ghana.
A focus of the case study will also be to assess the entrepreneurial and technical training opportunities the e-waste management actors, especially those in the informal sector, have access to. Additionally, the understanding that Kumasi Hive has gathered over the years is that informal workers at the scrapyards have challenges with material recovery from e-waste and are also exposed to toxic materials that have negative implications on their health.
Ultimately, Kumasi Hive team with the collaboration of Impact Hub Accra and the academic support of the UCC will conduct:
a) A baseline survey to fully understand the e-waste value chain in the country and its links with the EU exporters of eWaste;
b) a research to explore enablers/barriers to the implementation of CE practices and adoption recycling technologies such as copper stripping machines;
c) activities to improve technical and entrepreneurial skills training of the recyclers;
d) Establish an on-site makerspace for communal knowledge, skills sharing and digital fabrication of products.
The collaboration with the UCC will include a 6 months scholarship to be awarded to an undergraduate female student that will support data collection and analysis.
Critical raw materials
External supporting partners
University of Cape Coast (UCC) and Impact Hub.
from theory to implementation on the ground
The success of low-tech indigenous solutions such as the Copper Stripping Machine goes a long way to helping Ghana and those in the Global South in the use of an inclusive and bottom up approach to address the social menace of small-scale recycling.
It promises to drastically reduce environmental impact due to burning of the copper wires across e-waste sites in the country, most especially Agbogbloshie and Aboabo.
Since the technology will be co-created with the recyclers and low-tech as well, it is easily adaptable with great leaning towards improvement and scaling up by the recyclers themselves. The drastic reduction in burning e-waste through the use of the Copper Stripping Machine will prevent recyclers from being exposed to excessive heat and any emitted toxic gas as a result.
The Copper Stripping Machine is environmentally friendly, effective and efficient. The project will motivate recyclers to attempt finding more effective alternatives to their primitive methods of recycling and handling other e-waste products like circuit boards using modernized technology.
Additionally, identification of the enablers and barriers of circular economy practices will contribute to the development of more effective transnational policies to support circular practices at the 2 case study sites.
Distinctive aspects of the case study
Although there have been reports, tools and findings on circular economy, researchers have provided little evidence on the implementation of circular economy in Africa and other developing countries. Research in this regard has mainly been centralised in the Global North which is likely to not provide knowledge that applies to developing countries.
Based on the literature review done by JUST2CE and the gaps on topical areas the project has identified, Kumasi Hive will explore the implementation of circular economy at two major scrap yards in Ghana, Agbogbloshie and Aboabo. And will support JUST2CE with evidence on how circular economy is implemented in these areas and will bring out relevant knowledge that can contribute to transitioning to circular economy with the Global South in perspective.
These four dimensions will be considered in our case; geopolitical implications of e-waste trade and treatment, poor social protection and unfair labour conditions, barriers to technical and entrepreneurial skills training and governance structures and inadequate technological means.