Fan Milk Steps Up The Fight Against Plastic Pollution By Reaching A New Milestone Of Its "Pick-It" Project In Ghana

Co-created and implemented by Fan Milk and its partners, the Pick-it social entrepreneurship project aims to enable the development of sustainable practices along the entire plastic value chain (from generation to recycling). The launch of the Tema sorting center, located next to Accra, marks the start of this ambitious project.

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After officially launching its Pick-it project in November 2017, Fan Milk, the leading manufacturer and marketer of ice cream, frozen yoghurt and ambient yoghurt in West Africa, announces the opening of a brand-new waste and plastic sorting-center in Tema New Town, located next to Accra. The launch of this sorting center signals the operational start of Pick-It, an inclusive recycling project with two main objectives: increase plastics collection rates, thus lowering pollution, and improve waste pickers’ lives through innovative social and environmental solutions.

Plastic pollution is fast becoming a burning question in Africa. In Ghana alone, it is estimated that 12,710 tons of municipal solid waste, which consists of waste collected by or on behalf of municipal authorities, are generated per day. This amounts to more than 4.5 million tons annually. Throughout the continent, governments have decided to address the topic and encourage companies and individuals to use alternative materials and put in place a better waste recovery industry. Pick-it aims to be an active part of the solution.

Inspired by another Danone Ecosystem Fund project in Brazil, called Novo Ciclo, Pick-it is a social entrepreneurship venture that will enable the development of sustainable practices along the entire plastic value chain (from plastic generation to recycling). Waste pickers will be empowered through various skills that will increase both their waste recovery rates and 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. It is expected that, by the end of 2019, the sorting center will be collecting and recovering at least 25 tons of plastics per month, which is equivalent to 30% of the total volume of packaging generated by Fan Milk in Ghana. By the end of year 2022, Fan Milk Limited will become “waste positive”, recycling more plastic than it uses for its own packaging needs by replicating the project with two other communities.

Pick-it has been co-created and implemented by Fan Milk Limited, in partnership with Environment3601, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)2 and the MIT D-lab3. The project is funded and benefits from the technical expertise of the Danone Ecosystem Fund4, Fan Milk Limited, and FMO (the Dutch Development Bank). The Hewlett Foundation is also supporting the project, through WIEGO.

“We are proud to be one of the first companies in Africa to re-think its business model and leverage the circular economy in order to have a positive impact on both the local communities and the environment. Pick-it is a project that allows both value creation and inclusive development in Ghana by turning waste into resources. On the longer term, our goal is to replicate Pick-it’s model in other African countries where we operate and to become plastic positive across our operations in West Africa”, says Stéphane Cousté, Managing Director of Fan Milk Ghana.

This project illustrates the strong commitment of Fan Milk’s parent company - Danone - to rethink and redesign the future of packaging.

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