07 Sep Comfort Appiah;Plastic Waste to Sustainable Fashion.
Memorable experiences often have the power to influence life choices. The story of Comfort Appiah, founder of Ecofashion, is a case in point. Comfort graduated from Ashesi University in 2019 but established Ecofashion, a venture that produces crafts, art work and artistic fashion accessories from plastic bottles in 2018. With the help of the Ashesi Venture Incubator (AVI), Comfort developed Ecofashion into a hybridized business that seeks to not only make profit, but to make an impact while doing so. Speaking on her motivation for the work she does, Comfort said:
“After a relative’s house got flooded with water from a gutter choked with heaps of plastic waste, I decided to pursue sustainable consumption in my own small way to ensure that the waste we produce from the packaged products we consume does not end up in the wrong places. I also believe that everyone needs decent work in order to acquire basic needs to survive in an environment which also needs to be sustained.”
As a fellow of the Ashesi Venture Incubator, Ecofashion prides itself in contributing toward the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Apart from establishing itself as an organization that supports the promotion of good health and well-being (SDG 3), and encourages responsible consumption and production (SDG 8), Ecofashion has proven that society can either choose to endure plastic waste or enjoy plastic business.
According to Heather Troutman (2017), a research fellow for UN Development and Programme: “Ghana produces over 1.7 billion tons of plastic waste annually from which less than 2% is recycled. The rest end up in the drainage systems causing annual floods that claim lives and property.” Findings from the research of Tasantab et al (2018) also suggests that over about 50 years, 4 million people in Ghana have been affected by floods, resulting in economic damage exceeding USD$780 million. At least one major flood disaster has occurred every year over the past 10 years, and in urban areas, like Accra and Kumasi, floods are mostly triggered by seasonal rainfall combined with poor drainage and the dumping of waste into waterways”
Ecofashion is helping to combat this problem by producing quality and aesthetically appealing bags from plastic bottles. In an interview with some team members of NEXTi2i, Comfort said:
“We seek to save lives and property by taking more plastic waste out of the drainage systems. In the next three years, we expect to have retrieved more than 500,000 plastic bottles from the environment to make our products. We are also working towards training and employing at least 6 physically challenged people who will be full time staff of the company”.
Apart from customization, Ecofashion also allows customers to return their old Ecofashion bags for renovation to give them a new life without having to dump the bags when old.
After three years of research and its incorporation in 2018, Ecofashion has saved over 1000 plastic bottles from improper disposal, through its Minimum Viable Product testing and sales efforts. The company has also employed three people and has plans of creating employment opportunities for more people. At this rate, we at the AVI believe that Ecofashion will save more lives and property by taking more plastic waste out of our drainage systems.
Over the next year, Ecofashion will develop three concrete lines that incorporate upcycled plastic into the design.
To find out more about Ecofashion click here : https://shekecofashn.com/about-us/