By Sofia Barandiaran, Social Initiatives Coordinator at Cycle
Ewura Adams Karim is here to take the recycling world by storm. An accomplished performing artist, social entrepreneur, and change maker from Ghana, Adams is now joining Cycle as our Head of Operations for Africa. I sat down with Adams last week to discuss the many ways he’s working to create a more just and sustainable world, his plans for expanding Cycle to Ghana, and what he views as the greatest challenges and opportunities for recycling in Ghana.
When it comes to working for a more sustainable and just world, Adams is tireless. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Maltiti Foundation, a non-profit working to support and empower women in impoverished communities in Ghana. The Maltiti Foundation empowers women in a variety of ways, for example through vocational training to help them build the tools to succeed economically, through free health screenings and medications, and through sexual and reproductive health campaigns. The Foundation centers the belief that “women are key players in the development of any nation, therefore it is very important we focus our energies towards…empowering them” (Maltiti Foundation, “About”).
Adams is also a co-founder of Vert Growth, an agriculture company that employs young people in the sustainable production of food crops. To top it all of, he’s also the CEO of Creativity Express, a creative and media company. I asked Adams how he finds time to do so many things–he told me that his passion drives him, so the work comes naturally.
As our Head of Operations for Africa, Adams is taking the lead in expanding Cycle’s operations in the region–first to Ghana, and then to other countries. Adams is currently in talks with partners in Ghana to set up Cycle recycling machines at their facilities. He is focusing primarily on universities and schools, as well as communities and businesses, and predicts that Cycle machines should be up and running in Ghana by December 2020.
In Ghana, only 2–5% of plastics are currently recycled, according to the United Nations. Another 38% end up in landfills, 28% in land ecosystems, 23% in the sea, and 11% are burned. Cycle is excited to be working with Adams to help address this issue, joining a host of innovators and sustainability advocates that are currently working to address waste issues in Ghana.
Adams told me that one of the existing barriers to recycling in Ghana is awareness–that’s why it’s such a priority for him to set up Cycle machines in schools and universities. In an educational setting, the impact of a Cycle machine is greater than the cans and bottles it actually recycles: The machine also serves as an educational tool to help young people gain awareness of environmental issues and become passionate about creating change. Adams hopes that setting up Cycle machines in schools can spark classroom conversations about sustainability and innovation that will help shape the next generation of environmentalists.
Learn more about Ewura Adams Karim’s work:
Learn more about recycling & waste management initiatives in Ghana:
Ghana ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform — a multi-stakeholder group working to promote better waste recovery in pursuit of a circular economy
Waste Resource Map—highlights sustainable waste recovery initiatives in Ghana
Adams, Ewura. 2020. Interview by Sofia Barandiaran. June 24, 2020.
Maltiti Foundation. “About.” Accessed June 29, 2020. https://maltitifoundation.org/about-3/.
UNDP Ghana. 2019. “Behavioural Change is Critical in Addressing Plastic Menace.” April 24, 2019. https://www.gh.undp.org/content/ghana/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2019/behavioural-change-is-critical-in-addressing-plastic-menace.html.