Closing the Loop: Community-Based Organic Solid Waste Recycling, Urban Gardening, and Land Use Planning in Ghana, West Africa

Accra, Ghana's capital, has solid waste collection and disposal problems that, like most cities in Africa, are concentrated in poor residential neighborhoods. Efforts to improve solid waste management have focused on improving solid waste collection. A practical, low-cost concept that has not been explored is recycling organic solid waste into compost for urban cultivation. This research explored the feasibility of recycling organic solid waste into urban cultivation as a sustainable waste-management strategy in low-income neighborhoods. The main hypothesis of this study is that a significant proportion of solid waste can be diverted from inefficient disposal by redirecting the organic fraction into urban cultivation. The study revealed that waste-based urban cultivation could significantly reduce quantities of organic solid waste for disposal, and minimize waste collection and disposal cost. Challenges to implementing the concept include overcoming the issue of land availability and motivating stakeholders to initiate, implement, and sustain such projects.