November 12, 2021, by aczjb1

Meet the Ingenuity Lab members fighting plastic waste

For the final day of both Global Entrepreneurship Week and the COP26 summit, we’re featuring a sustainably-minded Ingenuity Lab business: GOAB Bio Engineers, set up by Ebenezer Berko Owusu and Philemon Gyasi-Antwi.

Ebenezer, an Advanced Materials graduate, and Philemon, a Microbiology and Immunology PhD graduate, have used their bioengineering ingenuity to develop an innovative way of reducing plastic waste, through the production of recycled composite boards. Inspired by seeing the damaging effects of plastic waste on their home country of Ghana, they decided to start making a difference themselves.

“Our first-hand experiences of the adverse effects of solid wastes inspired our innovation,” explained Philemon. “Urban solid wastes, consisting of about 60% plastic, are the cause of flooding and environmental pollution in our home country, Ghana, and many other low and middle income countries.”

Together, they have developed a method of producing composite boards made from solid wastes like plastic bags and wood shavings, using low carbon emission techniques. They hope the product will help make the construction trade more sustainable, while providing better value for money.

“Our processing method converts the plastics into a powdery form without the emission of gases common with the approaches used by most plastic recyclers,” said Ebenezer. “It also renders the boards less flammable, more durable, relatively cheaper and eco-friendly to give customers value for money.”

 Ebenezer (left) and Philemon (right) in the Ingenuity Lab

The team are passionate about fighting climate change and believe their innovation will help reduce the quantity of plastic waste that goes into landfills, oceans and rivers around the world.

“It is critical to tackle climate change now because the impact on our planet such as rising temperatures, rising sea levels, droughts, floods and bush fires are only going to get worse if nothing is done,” says Philemon. “Studies show that global plastic production is estimated to reach 33 billion tonnes in 2050 from 348 million tonnes in 2017 – this demands immediate action.”

While they are still in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey, they have already achieved recognition for their innovation this year, winning awards at the 2021 Ingenuity Impact Evening, and the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions National Final.

“To win these awards is a testimony of how our idea of repurposing plastic waste and wood shavings into eco-friendly composite boards resonates with many people. It is a huge motivation for us and hope this will be a springboard for many exciting things to come.”

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