Ambassador: Prince Agbata , Ghana
Prince co-founded Coliba Ghana in 2016 to address the issue of plastic pollution and to promote environmental sustainability. Coliba Ghana currently operates 40 recycling centres in Accra plus 16 across Cote D’ivoire, and has recycled 700 tons of waste in total.
Plastic waste is a serious problem in West Africa, and Prince decided to tackle this issue after losing his best friend in a flood disaster caused by plastic pollution. Currently, about 10% of plastic waste in Ghana is recycled while the rest finds its way into water-bodies, causing environmental and health challenges1 . Coliba collects and recycles single use plastic, ensuring that it gets processed sustainably using circular economy principles. The Coliba app allows homes, schools and businesses to request recycling pick ups at the touch of a button. Waste pickers, referred to as Coliba Rangers, then arrange a pick up and bring the collected plastic to the Coliba recycling centres for further processing. Coliba Rangers are trained in environmental sustainability and waste processing, giving them access to work that both benefits their pockets and the planet. The Coliba app also teaches users how to properly separate waste for efficient processing. Rural communities are incentivised to recycle through cash incentives, call credits and other in-kind benefits. Coliba has also established a plastic processing plant in Abidjan, where recycled bottles are turned into plastic pellets which can then be repurposed into new plastic products.
At One Young World 2018 The Hague, Prince was able to connect with some Coca Cola delegates. After returning home, these contacts connected him with a West African subsidiary of Coca Cola called Voltic Mineral Water. Coliba was able to secure a partnership with Voltic Mineral Water, where Voltic committed to setting up 200 plastic recycling centres across Ghana. To date, 40 of these centres have been established, massively increasing the impact of Coliba’s plastic recycling efforts.
Prince has plans to set up a new plastic processing plant in Ghana. Around 90% of recycled plastic that is put back into manufacturing is made at a very low quality, which means that it cannot be processed again after use. Coliba Ghana plans to start a processing plant that produces higher quality plastic items from recycled plastics, to ensure that these products can be kept in the processing cycle.