Skip to main content

Ghana Ltd.

What we do

Slamson Ghana, Ltd. became an incorporated Ghanaian company in February 2012 to provide low-cost and technically sustainable solutions for the water, waste management and energy sectors in low- and middle-income countries. From 2012 to 2017, Slamson worked on some of Ghana’s most complex environmental and social challenges, including liquid waste management, organic compost and charcoal production, clean water provision, medical and e-waste, and landfill gas extraction. Slamson’s key personnel is a diverse group of professionals with local and international experience in not-for-profit initiatives, social enterprise, and public-private partnerships. Slamson’s team is comprised of several leaders from local ethnic groups who have strong skills in organizational management and who can easily overcome the sociocultural barriers that many foreign and domestic organizations face in attempting to realize for-profit or not-for-profit ventures.

The Origins of Slamson:
Liquid Waste Management Pilot Plant, 2012 – 2015

Slamson’s first project in Ghana was in partnership with the Accra Municipal Assembly (AMA) to construct a small-scale pilot plant for the treatment of 600 m3 of septic waste per day in Accra’s city centre. The aim of this original site was to test the viability and sustainability of an environmentally and socially safe alternative to the dumping of raw septic waste onto the beach at the infamous Lavender Hill site. Lavender Hill sits adjacent to two of the most densely populated communities in Accra, Jamestown and the Old Fadama slum (known as Sodom and Gomorrah). Many high-level stakeholders (EPA, AMA, President’s Office) have recognized the urgent need to correct the practice of dumping raw waste onto the shores of these communities.

Slamson provided a turn-key solution for the management of faecal sludge, a low-cost solution that could be constructed in a short period of time (3-4 months) and operate with very little technical expertise. The pilot facility, built on the Mudor treatment site at the Korle Lagoon (across from Lavender Hill), was commissioned in March 2013. Overall, this pilot project was a success under the management and leadership of Slamson Ghana, Ltd. Slamson handed over the pilot site to AMA in June 2015, as stipulated in the original contract.

Resource Recovery:
Organic Compost & Charcoal

During the time that Slamson managed the site at the Korle Lagoon from 2012 to 2015, the company investigated a number of options so that the resources produced by the plant (reject water and dried solids) could be recovered and recycled into useful products. In addition to sourcing the most effective technologies to recycle and purify rejected water in an urbanized setting, Slamson was able to adapt technologies used around the world for the production of organic compost and charcoal. With the necessary adaptations made to accommodate the challenges presented by the local context (unreliable energy supply, lack of funding, unavailability of personnel and parts for specialized technologies), Slamson has produced low-cost and technically simple solutions for the production of both organic compost and charcoal.

Charcoal production has generated considerable interest locally and internationally because of its potential to mitigate the harmful environmental and social effects brought on by massive deforestation in Ghana and in other low- and middle-income countries, where most of the population (often >60%) uses firewood and wood-derived charcoal as its main energy source. Further, Slamson’s success in providing low-cost and technically sustainable solutions to liquid waste management in a developing context attracted the attention of international agencies. Slamson received funding from a Danish development agency (Danida) for a complete faecal sludge treatment facility and a Dutch development agency (RVO) for constructing and operating an adjacent compost facility in Accra.

Closing Lavender Hill, 2015 – 17

Upon understanding the environmental, social, and commercial potential for a treatment plant focused on “resource recovery”, Slamson and AMA signed a contract in June 2015. Slamson became responsible for constructing and operating an additional site on the existing land at Lavender Hill to treat another 800 m3 of septic waste per day. With a public-private partnership in place (AMA- Slamson-EPA), Danida guaranteed funding for this project.

In addition, Slamson has worked with AMA and EPA as the lead partner on the RVO-funded project called Bola Bondeh. Slamson used the dried solids from the Lavender Hill treatment plant to produce organic compost that was sold to the local market for urban and peri-urban agricultural activities. Slamson became Ghana’s leading producer of organic compost for both national and international markets, and thus, the waste treatment in Accra operated on a cost-recovery basis.

Key to Slamson’s Success in Ghana: Personnel

The key to Slamson’s success is due to its personnel, who exhibit both visionary leadership and a profound understanding of the local, cultural, political, economic, and social forces that influence the sustainability or failure of any venture, whether for-profit or otherwise.

Other Projects

In addition to Slamson’s initial central focus on providing solutions to liquid waste management at Lavender Hill, the company has been involved in six other main projects focused on providing low-cost and sustainable solutions to the environmental and social challenges associated with

  • Medical and e-waste;
  • Landfill gas extraction;
  • Plastic recycling and pellet production;
  • Activated carbon (charcoal); and
  • Coffee processing in the DRC.

Medical and e-waste

In 2013, Slamson was approached by Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications company, to help conduct a feasibility study for a corporate sustainability program. They were interested in establishing a program that dealt with the challenges of e-waste in Africa. Again, Slamson’s key personnel facilitated access to the e-waste stakeholders in the Agbogbloshie market and assisted in a pre-feasibility exercise. Although Ericsson did not launch their corporate e-waste program in Ghana, they went on to use the information to establish successful e-waste programs in collaboration with MTN in Ivory Coast and Benin. Nevertheless, Slamson has always maintained a strong network with Ericsson Ltd., who indicated that they would be interested in pursuing a similar initiative in Accra if the opportunity arose.

In February 2016, Slamson received a contract from GIZ (German development agency) as the local expert on a 5,000,000-euro e-waste initiative to bring real sustainable change to the e-waste practices in the Agbogbloshie community of Accra, one of the world’s largest e-waste dumps.

The treatment of e-waste in Accra is predominantly an industry operating in the informal sector. It is a well-organized and dynamic industry that functions to provide quick cash flow to all actors involved. Changing this complex and well-organized industry has proved challenging for all those who have come before. In a short time, Slamson was able to provide a detailed overview of previous initiatives and studies examining the e-waste practices in the slum and examine these in relation to what is currently happening inside the community.

Focused on the most practical aspects of the industry, Slamson’s personnel has compiled information and continues to compile data that outsiders (even Ghanaians) may not have access to through a well-developed network with locals in the Old Fadama slum. Further, Slamson is the first to use gender as an independent indicator in analyzing how the current e-waste practices affect women and girls and, more importantly, how a more formalized sector will affect women and girls differently from men and boys.

As a “male-dominated” industry, females, who dominate informal sector economic activities in Accra, are unlikely to receive better working conditions or social benefits that men working in the informal e-waste sector will receive. As such, any initiative to formalize and improve working conditions in e-waste (for men) should incorporate a specific plan also to provide equal opportunities for women to participate in formal sector activities that promise better social conditions for those living and working in the community.

Landfill gas extraction

Further to Slamson’s work in the water, medical, and e-waste sectors, the company has also been investigating low-cost and simple technologies that could tackle the problem of landfill gas in Ghana.

Currently, many landfills in Ghana have no solution in place to treat the build-up of dangerous gases, especially methane, resulting from the breakdown of organic waste. As Ghana continues a course of rapid urbanization, these landfills, which often are situated on or near sought-after development lands, present serious hazards if the gases are not properly released before any development projects begin.

Slamson has sourced a simple and low-cost technology from a Danish engineer who travelled to Ghana in June 2014 to assist Slamson with baseline work on a local adaptation of the technology. Further, Slamson travelled to Denmark in August 2014 with company representatives (Fredrik and Sam) and a representative from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (Mr. Daniel Kabe) to observe the operation and construction of the technology.

Slamson was awarded a permit from the Energy Commission of Ghana (ECG) to extract landfill gas and sell it to the national grid. This practice is consistent with Ghana’s Renewable Energy Act, which requires that 10% of all consumer energy comes from renewable sources. Armed with their license and the technology, Slamson began discussions in 2015 with J. Stanley-Owusu, owners of several landfill sites in Ghana, to implement this low-cost and low-tech solution for extracting methane gas from their landfill sites and selling it to ECG’s national grid. This project aimed to increase the energy supply and provide for public safety is consistent with Slamson’s vision to be involved in waste management and to be recognized as a leader in resource recovery. Unfortunately, the project never came to fruition. However, the blueprints remain preserved for future exploration in Ghana and beyond.

Landfill gas extraction

In partnership with the Sunstone Group of Companies and a local recycling company, Slamson is in the process of starting a new business as a force for good to realize sustainable, long-term social, environmental, and economic impact through the collection, conversion, and selling of post-consumer plastic waste.

The technology is driven by a plastics collection model that enables waste collection at the source, integrating informal waste workers, micro-entrepreneurs, and consumers into a formal value chain, increasing the amount of post-consumer plastic waste Slamson can collect and provide stakeholders the chance to earn a fair, predictable, and transparent income and benefits.

Sunstone currently operates, with its partners, a world-class processing plant in Kenya to convert locally collected plastic waste into high-quality PCR (Post Consumer Recyclates) and sell it as a substitute for imported virgin plastics at competitive rates.

To close the loop, they work closely with brand owners and third-party plastic manufacturers to develop and execute three-way off-take agreements for high-quality PCR, helping FMCGs and others realize their sustainable packaging goals by accessing ethically sourced, locally produced PCR.

A similar plant is planned for Ghana.

Activated carbon (charcoal):

The initiation of this project is pending. Yet, Slamson is discussing with a leading Swedish company to develop activated carbon production in Ghana.

Activated charcoal is used in various industries (organic and chemical) and for medical, agricultural, skincare and food purposes. There is a high demand for this product throughout Africa, but no such production in Ghana.

One primary industrial application involves using activated carbon in metal finishing to purify electroplating solutions. For example, it is the main purification technique for removing organic impurities from bright nickel plating solutions. Various organic chemicals are added to plating solutions to improve their deposit qualities and enhance properties like brightness, smoothness, ductility, etc.

Due to the passage of direct current and electrolytic reactions of anodic oxidation and cathodic reduction, organic additives generate unwanted breakdown products in solution. Their excessive build-up can adversely affect the plating quality and physical properties of deposited metal. Activated carbon treatment removes such impurities and restores plating performance to the desired level.

For medical purposes, it is used to treat poisoning and overdoses following oral ingestion. Tables or capsules of activated carbon are used in Ghana as an over-the-counter drug to treat diarrhea, indigestion, and flatulence. As there is no local production, pharmaceutical companies in Ghana must import the ingredient at high costs.

Activated carbon (charcoal) is an allowed substance used by organic farmers in livestock production. It is used as a pesticide, animal feed additive, processing aid, nonagricultural ingredient and disinfectant.

Robusta coffee processing (DRC)

During his time with Opportunity International in Chicago, Fredrik worked to establish a Robusta coffee processing plant in Sub-Ubangi, DRC. He made multiple trips to the DRC and established a company in the United States called the Congo Infrastructure Development Group (CIDG) and had commitments from social investors that wanted to use their investment resources to address rural poverty in Africa by helping develop businesses and employment. The high-quality coffee being grown in the region provides an entry point to create and enhance livelihoods. The Operating Company would produce wash green coffee beans ready for export from a new processing plant in Sud-Ubangi’s capital city of Gemena to international buyers such as OLAM, one of the largest buyers of African coffee. The national and local governments expressed strong support because of the alignment with its economic development plans. The launch of a coffee processing plant could have helped accelerate additional business development in the entire region of the former Équateur.

The preparations were meticulously arranged; however, the timing of the launch coincided with the global Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020, leading to the necessary delay of the plans. A comprehensive business plan for the Robusta coffee processing facility can be provided upon inquiry.