How Ghana’s Nelplast Startup Uses Plastics to Pave Roads in the Country


One of the key pillars in the quest for the African economic growth is the infrastructure. However, Africa lacks high-class infrastructure. But now African citizens have decided to take the bull by its horns rather than waiting for government’s support.

It is estimated that by 2050 the number of plastics in African oceans will be more than that of fish. This is according to the World Economic Forum’s data.  A total of 8 million metric tons of plastic get deposited in the oceans annually. This destroys ecosystem and animals. Waste is becoming unbearable. Therefore, individuals have come up with new ways to manage waste.

Nelson Boateng from Ghana came up with a form of asphalt recycled from Ghana’s plastic wastes. This comes from plastic bags. This is used in paving pavements and roads. Boateng came up with the idea after the ministry after plastic bags were banned in Ghana. The move aimed at doing away with environmental pollution by plastic bags.

Boateng came up with his personal recycling machine in 2017.  He developed the machine from scrap metal, motors and electrical wires. The machine started operating after eight months. During that period it collected and recycled around 2,000 kg plastic wastes from Ashaiman areas. He used them to lay down plastic pavement blocks at no cost back where he came from. Ghana records production of 22,000 tons of plastic bags wastes each year. The country is only in a position to recycle 2% of the number. The remaining 98% is then dumped on land, therefore, polluting the environment.

Boateng’s new asphalt comprises 40% sand and 60% plastic. This is different from the traditional asphalt that is made up of aggregate sand. Boateng believes that the pavements will be able to last the same number of years that plastic bags take before decomposing (500 years). The pavements do not rot easily and they have a longer lifespan compared to cement. Boateng is using his startup called Nelplast to pave roads throughout the country. Nelplast currently employs 230 individuals. Furthermore, the company has received support from the government.

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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru


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  1. Might this technology be franchised in other territories?
    We have problems maintaining our roads and also mountains of plastic that might be more responsibly disposed.
    Please assist us .

    • Sure, the experts from Nelplast are willing to share this out in other nations so feel free to contact them. Let me know if you have any other question please?

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