Municipal waste management systems in low- to middle-income neighbourhoods in Accra

Integration of Informal waste workers into the waste management scheme of Accra, Ghana


Accra, the tropical capital of Ghana faces environmental and waste management issues. The Municipal Authority of Accra was initially responsible for waste management services. Due to the inadequate capacity of waste management, the Municipal Authority started the Hutalapi principle that has brought in other waste collection service providers with a target of the lower-middle-income neighbourhood of Accra.


Until 2011, the cost of waste collection in Accra was mainly borne by the municipality. At that time, only about 25% of customers paid for waste disposal, which means that well over 70% do not pay for the services. This unpaid share ate up about 40% of the budget that the municipality generates through fees, licences and payments. This reduces the possibilities to adequately perform other tasks in the areas of education, health and other services. As part of a multi-stakeholder approach, the city therefore decided to make the beneficiaries of waste collection services more financially responsible for the waste they generate.


  • A need to close illegal open dumpsites in Accra city like Mallam Market, Old Fadama, Ring Road West and Gbegbeyise dumps.

  • Inclusion of informal waste workers to sustain closure of open dumps and expand waste collection coverage.

  • Social inclusion of informal waste collectors and resource salvagers. 


  • Operationalization of the Fees and Performance Bills Waste Collection System, a franchise arrangement where waste collection service providers were assigned zones in various areas.
  • Obligation of waste collection service providers to register households, collect waste and generate the corresponding revenue.
  • Surveyed to find out the acceptance of informal waste collectors within the various communities of Accra City.
  • Closure of illegal dump sites like the Ring Road West dump site.
  • Registration of over 500 informal waste collectors with Municipal Authority of Accra.


The program has contributed to achieving over 90% collection of waste in low-income areas. The illegal open dumpsites have been closed due to the cooperation of the Municipal Authority of Accra and other stakeholders in waste management. The informal operators in waste management have been included in the legal framework of collection of waste and this has reduced the stigma associated with being observed as illegal operators. There has been an increase in women's participation in the collection of recyclable waste materials that take them to recycling plants.


The role of informal sector actors in waste management is important for low-income areas of a city. They are very important for the expansion of waste management services and also the recycling sector. Informal sector actors should be considered as partners as they develop locally adapted solid waste management systems in low-income areas. The City of Accra Climate Action Plan has defined clear rules for the informal sector in terms of improving waste collection and recovering recyclables from waste.

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Published: 25/04/2022


Victor Kotey
Stellvertretender Direktor, Abteilung für Abfallwirtschaft
Stadt Accra, Ghana
E: vicnk69(at)


Categories: Municipal services Solid waste management and recycling
Regions: Africa Ghana Accra


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