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Every Friday we share local innovation insights sourced from tw:in, our global trend community. Here’s this week’s Spot of the Week!

Industrial processing firm Nelplast in Ghana is turning plastic garbage into roads, and began collaborating with the government to implement the innovation this month. The roads are to be made up of plastic blocks, which are comprised of 60% plastic and 40% sand; in comparison, asphalt is made mostly of sand. Nelplast developed the blocks after the nation banned plastic bags, as 98% of plastic waste in Ghana is dumped into a landfill (instead of recycled).

This was sent in by our tw:in member Emeka Obia, who’s based in Nigeria: “This innovation stood out for me especially because it flipped a negative into a positive, as plastic bags are a huge environmental problem in Africa. And because it has put waste to use, Nelplast is showing people how much recycling can help contribute to a cleaner environment.”

Plastic bags that pave the road to a cleaner future (pun intended)? Sign us up! Ghana’s strict laws on plastic bags are mirrored in a number of African countries: Rwandans caught using plastic bags can be made to issue public apologies, while citizens of Kenya are subject to USD 19,000 fines! But simply banning these bags doesn’t answer the question of what to do with the mountains upon mountains of plastic bags (and other waste) that are already here? Nelplast’s solution, however, does.

So, two takeaways for you. First, can tough legislation actually present you with rich innovation opportunities? Second – and while we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again! – if you’re looking for eco-inspiration then don’t just look at eco-chic California or Scandinavia...look to eco-practical Africa!

tw:in (TrendWatching’s Insight Network) is our private Slack community, where we share and discuss innovations with hundreds of passionate trend enthusiasts around the world. Sound interesting? Join us now!


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