Natural packaging to fight plastic pollution: pilot project launched in Ghana

A pilot to introduce natural packaging and reduce the use of single-use plastic has been successfully launched in Accra, Ghana. Over the next months, seaweed-based takeaway boxes and edible water sachets will be offered at five canteens and shops on the University of Ghana campus. This initiative aims to demonstrate the potential of plastic-free packaging as a sustainable alternative to single-use packaging, and pave the way for a more widespread use of natural packaging, not only in Ghana, but also in other countries.

The two plastic-free packaging solutions being tested are:

  • an edible water sachet called ‘Ooho’ for hydration on the go, which seeks to reduce the widespread use of plastic sachets; and
  • a takeaway food container that has many of the same grease and water-resistant qualities as traditional coatings.

Produced by the sustainable packaging start-up Notpla, which was recently awarded an Earthshot Prize, both seaweed-based packaging solutions are rendered completely compostable and biodegradable within six to eight weeks.

“This initiative is a real-world illustration of the waste hierarchy: it is less costly, more efficient and more sustainable to prevent waste in the first place, instead of generating and subsequently managing it,” remarked Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions.

As revealed by the national plastic waste inventory developed under the project, Ghana generates an estimated 900,000 tonnes of municipal plastic waste per year, almost half of which is not collected, but instead is typically burnt, dumped or buried. Therefore, it is clear that solutions focusing on the prevention and minimization of plastic waste serve as a critical pillar in the reduction of plastic waste in Ghana, which needs to be managed in an environmentally sound manner.

The pilot on natural packaging is part of an ongoing project on plastic waste, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and implemented by Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the BRS Secretariat, in cooperation with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the Africa Region. Other activities implemented under the project include a pilot on reusable bags, a collection and recycling scheme for plastic fishing nets, a beach cleanup and citizen science survey, the training of plastic waste recyclers to minimize releases of microplastics, and the development of recommendations on legal matters and the environmentally sound management of plastic waste.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the only global legally binding instrument that currently and specifically addresses plastic waste. In 2019, the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention adopted the Plastic Waste Amendments. Effective as of 1 January 2021, the Amendments aim to ensure that transboundary movements of plastic waste are more transparent and better regulated. In addition, the Basel Convention Parties are legally bound under the Amendments to take steps to ensure that plastic waste is managed in environmentally sound ways within their territories, and that plastic waste generation is prevented and minimized.


The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions brings together the three leading multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal aims to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the environmentally unsound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes worldwide.

Marine litter and microplastics: promoting the environmentally sound management of plastic waste and achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of plastic waste (BRS-Norad-1) is financed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The programme seeks to prevent and significantly reduce marine litter and microplastics by strengthening capacity in Ghana and Sri Lanka, at the regional and global levels.


For technical questions on the natural packaging pilot: Jost Dittkrist, BRS Programme Officer
For media inquiries: Marisofi Giannouli, BRS Associate Public Information officer,

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