For Nelson Boateng, the plastics business is all he has known since he started working at a factory when he was 13. In 2015, Boateng’s company, Nelplast, which makes plastic shopping bags, was pushed to think of a way to keep the business alive. Using knowledge learned informally, he came up with a production process that mixes sand with shredded plastic and red oxide to make one-square foot pavement blocks.
At sale of $1 each, his company’s blocks are cheaper than the average price of $1.50 for a concrete block. His plastic-infused blocks have been used to pave some homes and to rebuild a pitted stretch of road in Ashaiman, the densely-populated township where he grew up.