Nelson Boateng: From Ashaiman To The 2020 Top 50 African Disruptors List

Nelson Boateng. (Credit: Albert Oppong-Ansah/IPS)

Everybody has a story to tell about their life and how they have lived it.

For those who have seen some level of succces, they would often have a chapter in that story where they talk about choosing to follow an unpopular yet challenging path.

For Nelson Boateng, that decision would lead him to become one of the Top 50 African Disruptors of 2020 along side the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Akufo Addo and others.

Nelson Boateng is Chief Executive Director of Nelplast Ghana limited, a company that is finding alternative uses for plastic waste.

Among other things his company is turning plastic waste into bricks.

Nelson Boateng, born and bred in Ashiaman, Greater Accra, is a product of the Ashiaman Senior High School.

After his secondary education, he didn’t move straight into any tertiary institution but decided to work for some time. He got a job in a plastic company that made polythene bags, plastic bowls, rubber buckets, among others.

That was the unpopular yet rewarding move Nelson made.

Nelson, as industrious as he has always been, worked with the company for eight years and rose to become the manager. During this period, he took a diploma course in Network Engineering at the Blue Crest College in Accra, The BFT wrote in a feature on Nelson.

While managing the plastic company, a situation rose between the owners of the company that eventually led to its dissolution. But for someone who has been interested in entrepreneurship since age 14, it became an opportunity for him to set the stage for his dreams to become a reality.

Nelson decided not to enter any industry other than the one he already knew—plastics. He set up a company in 2014 and called it Nelplast Limited which also started producing polybags and other plastics.

In time, he was not really satisfied doing the same thing over and over again. He wanted to change the direction of the business and do something innovative that will tend to solve a problem in the community.

He began reading and researching what other things plastics can be used for that will be friendly to the environment. That was when he came up with a unique paste which is a mixture of sand and plastics to make bricks. Now having discovered what he wants to do, he moved straight into it.

Nelplast changes direction

Nelson, through some ingenuity, developed his own machine for maufacturing the bricks. From that machine, he can produce bricks, floor tiles, roof tiles, and blocks. The amazing thing is that the bricks can even be used for construction of roads.

He decided to test it on the Tema-Akosombo road, specifically Ashiaman -Tulaku, which had some parts damaged. He replaced the damaged asphalt with pavement bricks made from his plastic bricks, and it has forever remained strong, even stronger than the asphalt.

Through his innovation, a lot of job opportunities have been created. About 500 people have got jobs by supplying his company with plastic bottles and sachet bags which he shreds with a machine and mixes with sand to make the bricks.

His innovative product has earned him recognition in the country and even across Africa. Quite recently, Nelplast was contacted by the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology to help build its capacity technically and financially so it can expand and impact positively more on the environment.

Paragraphs of this article were borrowed from the 2018 The BFT article


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