Recycling of Production Waste by Way of Job Creation

Graphic Communications Group Limited


For Ghana’s artisans and mostly female market sellers, a good part of their livelihood depends on what happens to waste materials from the country’s largest newspaper group, Graphic Communications Group.

Numerous people reuse the waste materials which are sold to them at low prices, saving the waste from the landfill site as well as generating income for the group. Artisans for example may turn waste paper into arts and crafts.

But the group, owner of Ghana’s largest newspaper the Daily Graphic, with a circulation of 100,000, decided it could improve its recycling programme and by doing so help SMEs and reduce waste.

This initiative made it a worthy overall winner in this year’s awards as well as picking up “best contribution to the reputation of the procurement and supply profession”.

A cross-functional team made up of procurement, production and finance professionals, among others, examined ways to implement changes under the direction of the group’s head of Supply Chain.

To enable savings to be passed on, procurement renegotiated input costs, which led to savings of $342,500 on paper, $37,800 on printing plates and around $11,600 in environmentally friendly ink.

Artisans, market vendors and the like were encouraged to form groups. Weekly sales of materials were carried out, with the option of discounts for buying in bulk. Transport was provided below cost by the company for customers of recycled waste.

Waste paper, empty ink containers, drums and other materials are now put on display in a warehouse to encourage customers to buy them. As a result of the initiative, sales of certain kinds of production waste, such as empty ink drums and used printing plates, have increased by 21%.

Health and safety advice was provided to artisans and their premises were visited to ensure recycled materials were used in a way which would not harm their health.

Procurement negotiated a deal with paper suppliers that they would contribute 2% on each purchase to help sustain another of the group’s CSR enterprises – Junior Graphic.  Junior Graphic is a non-profit version of the newspaper for younger readers, which is distributed free to deprived schools to encourage literacy and has also sparked national spelling competitions.

The Junior Graphic initiative alone raised more than $69,000. The programme as a whole meant the company’s revenue from production waste by the end of the third quarter of 2015 came to $131,305.

Just as importantly it helped provide a consistent, cheap source of packaging materials to help market sellers and to provide a creative fuel for artisans.

Judges’ comments: “This was a creative way of generating revenue to contribute to profitability through waste disposal.”

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