Aqua Africa Ltd, a UK business focussing on water access solutions within Ghana, has announced the acquisition of Trashy Bags company, the Ghana-based social enterprise creating upcycled eco-friendly bags from discarded plastic drinking water sachets.

For the last few years, Aqua Africa has been deeply involved with Trashy Bags supporting its mission to eliminate the streets of Ghana from the plight of plastic.

Plastic pollution has quickly become one of the world’s most serious environmental challenges. This is especially evident in developing countries where the use of plastic has outpaced the ability to recycle or how to efficiently dispose or manage the problem. 

Widespread littering and indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste are increasingly becoming a threat to land, sea, and air.

Aqua Africa announces acquisition of Trashy Bags

With 63 per cent of Ghanaians sourcing safe drinking water from sachet water, packaged in small, heat-sealed plastic bags, much of this plastic waste is from drinking water sachets and other sachets that have been carelessly discarded. Discarded sachet bags pose serious environmental risks from being a fertile ground for mosquitoes to breed in, blocking drains, marine wildlife and if burnt, air pollution.

As a Ghana-based commercial social enterprise, Trashy Bags Africa (TBA) has identified a function for this waste, creating durable and sustainable items from reclaimed plastic drinking water sachets as well as other waste including ice cream and advertising hoardings.

All products are upcycled and are not reprocessed in any way apart from cleaning, ensuring very little energy is used. Each month Trashy Bags collects nearly 200,000 plastic sachets bags by a network of commercial enterprises, each obtaining an income from their efforts, and by doing so, giving value to waste and creating jobs.

Trashy Bags Africa is seen as a pioneer and leader in the field of a sustainable approach to the challenge of plastic waste, having collected and recycled approximately 30 million plastic sachets bags since inception in 2007. In support of this, Trashy Bags Africa has signed up for the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, committing to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Aqua Africa announces acquisition of Trashy Bags

Currently employing over thirty local staff to design, clean, and stitch plastic trash into fashionable, eco-friendly products that are marketing and sold internationally. Thus, supporting the Government of Ghana’s value to deliver a “Ghana Beyond Aid” by promoting a “Trade Not Aid” approach.

Aqua Africa is a company developing climate-smart projects to provide safe, clean water to areas of the greatest need and has taken this opportunity to secure and invest in expanding the operation in Ghana and further across Sub-Sahara Africa.

Philip Foster, CEO of Trashy Bags Africa, said “We are thrilled with this acquisition of Trashy Bags, and it marks an important threshold from which to move forward in tackling the challenge of plastic waste through commercial enterprise. The newly branded Trashy Bags Africa will continue to provide a fantastic range of products from upcycled from water sachets.”

He said that the company will be looking to export 70 per cent of goods manufactured in Ghana.

“Our products are known around the world having already supplied goods to the US, Japan, UK and across Europe.”

A full range of the products available can be found on the website (trashybagsafrica.com) and Aqua Africa welcome visits to the factory. In addition, the marketing suite will be opened in the 1st quarter of 2022 in Labone, Accra.