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FanMilk launches “Pick it” Project in Ghana – an inclusive recycling project that would contribute to increased plastic waste collection and improved waste pickers livelihoods.




“Pick-it” is an inclusive recycling project which aims to contribute to increased plastics collection rates and to improve waste pickers livelihoods. It is an innovative alternative to improve solid waste management in Ghana that would generate relevant economic, social and environmental impacts. 


The project is co-created and implemented by Fan Milk Limited, in partnership with Environment360, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing - WIEGO and the MIT D-lab. In addition to the implementation partners, the project also has the full support of the Tema Traditional Council (and His Majesty Nii Adjei Kraku II, Tema Mantse) as well as from the Solid Waste Department of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Fan Milk Ltd, an affiliate of Fan Milk International, a joint-venture between Danone and Abraaj Groups, is one of the oldest and well-known brands in Ghana. It was founded in 1962 and enjoys outstanding brand recognition in Ghana. It is a household brand with the highest market share for frozen dairy products in Ghana, its home market. As part of the mission of the company, the objective of this project is to move towards a circular economy by creating a second life for the materials collected in the future. The role of Fan Milk is to ensure co-financing, to provide leadership to the project team and to coordinate the roles of all implementing partners during the pilot phase which will last for 2,5 years.


Pick-it will enable the development of sustainable practices along the entire value chain (from generation to recycling). Waste pickers will gain management, technical and organizational skills that will increase waste recovery rates, secure earnings and increase their income. This will be enhanced by the creation of membership-based waste pickers’ organizations (cooperatives), where recyclables will be sorted and then sold to recycling plants.  Downstream, recyclables will be collected door-to-door in households and also in markets, industries and lorry stations. A public awareness campaign will educate and stimulate citizens to reduce and segregate waste at source. 


The Pick-it project aims to leverage lessons from inclusive recycling programs involving waste pickers cooperatives in Brazil and India to develop a model that can scale up in Ghana and across Africa. With Danone/Fan Milk as a core partner, the project is built on similar initiatives supported by the Danone Ecosystem Fund in developing countries, including the successful Novo Ciclo Program in Brazil.


This project is funded by Fan Milk Limited, Danone Ecosystem Fund and FMO (the Dutch Development Bank).  The Hewlett Foundation is also supporting the project, through WIEGO.




A total of 300 waste pickers will be supported during the first phase to register with the National Health Insurance Service and also be trained in organizational, technical and management skills: 150 from Kpone land and Tema New Town have already been registered whilst registration of the rest will be completed in 2019. 


A sorting center, managed by the waste pickers’ cooperative, will be constructed and commissioned in May 2018 in Tema New Town. It is expected that by end of 2019 the sorting center will be collecting and recovering at least 25 tons of plastics per month, which is quivalent to 30% of total volume of packaging generated by Fan Milk Ghana. By the end of year 2022, Fan Milk Limited will become “waste positive”, by supporting 2 more cooperatives to collect, segregate and recycle plastic waste.  


The Pick-it project has enjoyed the full support of the Waste Management Department of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly since its inception. In this context, Tema New Town has been chosen to run this pilot due to its characteristics as the biggest fishing community in Greater Accra and a highly-densed populated area. The engagement and commitments of His Majesty, Nii Adjei Kraku II, Paramount Chief of Tema were key in designing and approving the project. 


The kick-off of the Pick-it project took place at the Palace of Nii Adjei Kraku II, the Paramount Chief of Tema. It was marked by the signing of a MoU between the implementing partners and the Tema Traditional Council on Wednesday November 8th at Tema New Town. The cordial event brought together Traditional Authorities, Government Officials, private sector representatives, waste pickers, the community and Fan Milk Managing Director, Mr Stephane Couste.


During the event, Mr. Stephane Couste, Managing Director of FanMilk Limited Ghana emphasized that “With “Pick-it”, FanMilk is proud to bring an innovative alternative to improve solid waste management in Ghana. This initiative, he added, will generate relevant economic, social and environmental impacts. According to Mr. Couste, FanMilk, in line with the Danone ambition of “ONE PLANET ONE HEALTH”, wants to develop a circular economy by creating a second life for the materials collected in the future. “The project is a pilot for Ghana and West Africa, which we strongly believe that it can be rolled-out in other locations, and other countries, and can drive engagement of more partners in the future” he concluded.


The Deputy Executive Director of EPA, Mr. John A. Pwamang, said the EPA was very glad to be associated with a very laudable project dubbed Pick-it project targeted at increasing the rate of collection of plastic wastes for recycling.  


“We congratulate Fan Milk Limited for such a well thought out initiative and entreat all stakeholders involved to work together to achieve the aims and objectives of the project.

I call on other corporate bodies that use plastics in their operations to emulate the example of Fan Milk Limited and also initiate similar projects so that together we could bring the plastics menace under control.”


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