Municipal solid waste characterization and quantification as a measure towards effective waste management in Ghana

Kodwo Miezah, Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Zsófia Kádár, Bernard Fei-Baffoe, Moses Y Mensah

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Reliable national data on waste generation and composition that will inform effective planning on waste management in Ghana is absent. To help obtain this data on a regional basis, selected households in each region were recruited to obtain data on rate of waste generation, physical composition of waste, sorting and separation efficiency and per capita of waste. Results show that rate of waste generation in Ghana was 0.47kg/person/day, which translates into about 12,710tons of waste per day per the current population of 27,043,093. Nationally, biodegradable waste (organics and papers) was 0.318kg/person/day and non-biodegradable or recyclables (metals, glass, textiles, leather and rubbers) was 0.096kg/person/day. Inert and miscellaneous waste was 0.055kg/person/day. The average household waste generation rate among the metropolitan cities, except Tamale, was high, 0.72kg/person/day. Metropolises generated higher waste (average 0.63kg/person/day) than the municipalities (0.40kg/person/day) and the least in the districts (0.28kg/person/day) which are less developed. The waste generation rate also varied across geographical locations, the coastal and forest zones generated higher waste than the northern savanna zone. Waste composition was 61% organics, 14% plastics, 6% inert, 5% miscellaneous, 5% paper, 3% metals, 3% glass, 1% leather and rubber, and 1% textiles. However, organics and plastics, the two major fractions of the household waste varied considerably across the geographical areas. In the coastal zone, the organic waste fraction was highest but decreased through the forest zone towards the northern savanna. However, through the same zones towards the north, plastic waste rather increased in percentage fraction. Households did separate their waste effectively averaging 80%. However, in terms of separating into the bin marked biodegradables, 84% effectiveness was obtained whiles 76% effectiveness for sorting into the bin labeled other waste was achieved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Pages (from-to)15-27
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright: 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Biodegradables
  • Compliance level
  • Generation rate
  • Household waste
  • Municipal solid waste
  • Nationwide
  • Waste sorting


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