There is more than e-waste processing happening in the open-air recycling factory: plastic processing represents a significant portion of Agbogbloshie’s ecosystem and economy.
The plastic processing chain involves various actors (male and female — contrary to e-waste processing which does not employ female workers) and machines:
- Collectors get plastic waste from all around the city and temporarily store them onsite. Dismantlers scrap plastic out of e-waste or other items.
- Men and women sort out plastics based on empirical and heuristic approaches: they separate plastics according to their thickness, malleability (thermoplastics are malleable and can be recycled, while thermoset plastics are not), and by the sound plastics make when workers bang on them with a screwdriver!
- In our interaction, workers in Agbogbloshie did not know about the resin identification code system. However, as observed many locally-made plastics lacked labels, as well as scrap pieces of plastic detached from primary parts…
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