Kolics Converts Waste Textiles into Shoes and Bags, Ghana

Kolics Company Ltd. (KoliKo wear) is a social enterprise that seeks to support skilled and opportunity seeking youth to produce innovative products which are environmentally friendly.

Koliko Wear creates the avenue to engage the youth in Ghana in doing something with their skills or learning a skill for their future by up-cycling and recycling used-textiles including jeans, African print etc. into high quality shoes and bags.

Koliko Wear has employed 7 males including the apprentice who are paid monthly as well as the apprentice given allowance for support. The company has converted about 500 kg of old textiles into shoes and as well reducing the impact on the environment.

Increasing population, changing consumption habits, increasing wealth and lack of specific treatment technology have resulted into increased indiscriminate disposal of old textiles on the environment. Furthermore, most of the youth especially those in the informal sector in Ghana have the energy, skills and zeal to work in order to improve their livelihood and contribute to the national economy. However, there is a lack of opportunity to convert these skills and energy into something meaningful that will add value to their lives. Additionally, the unemployment rate is relatively high to absorb these category of people.

KoliKo Wear helps to engage the unemployed young talent, reduce unemployment rate among the youth and the negative impact of indiscriminate dumping of old textiles on the environment.

The objectives of KoliKo Wear are to:

· Create avenues for the youth to be engaged in doing something with their skills or learning a skill for their future.

· Use up-cycled and recycled material to cut down waste that would end up in the landfills in order to protect the environment.

· Use part of the proceeds to support projects that fall in line with KoliKo´s principles.

KoliKo Wear collaborates with various old clothe sellers in the Western region of Ghana mostly in Takoradi the capital city of the region. Old clothes are bought from these people and sent to our warehouse to be used. Our workers up-cycle these old clothes and African prints into high quality shoes, slippers and customized dresses, which are sold to the general public. These clothes would have been thrown away in the end because of some defects.

Since the inception of KoliKo wear, it has up-cycled in total about 500 kg of old clothes and African prints into shoes, slippers as well as customized dresses. The company has employed and trained 7 young talents. They plan to expand their capacity by up-cycling and recycling discarded textiles also into bags and other useful products. The company pivoted during the covid-19 pandemic. It has produced over 16,000 face masks, some of which were funded and as such donated to people and institutions at no cost to curb the pandemic situation in the western region of Ghana.

The absence of regulations as well as specific collection and treatment techniques for materials including textiles culminates into its indiscriminate disposal. Insufficient funds to purchase sophisticated machines and engage more young talents impede the expansion of the company’s capacity. Additionally, the lack of awareness on recycling and up-cycling of materials such as textiles comes with a certain stigma, which intend affect the patronage of the products. The covid-19 pandemic also affected the demand of shoes. Specific collection policies and initiatives will help improve the situation. Education and awareness creation on recycling and up-cycling of discarded materials will as well create new options for consumers.

The abundance of end-of-life textiles coupled with high unemployment rate among talented and energetic youth especially in developing countries create the opportunity for this kind of business model to be replicated. However, the products that could be up-cycled from textiles and financing of project can be discovered locally.

KoliKo Wear engages with market men and women in Takoradi for the collection of old textiles. They also involve the youth in the city for the up-cycling and production of the shoes. Furthermore, KoliKo Wear partners with foreign stakeholders for implementation of their projects. The innovative feature about KoliKo Wear is the ability to customize their products (tailored-shoes and dresses) using up-cycled discarded textiles to suit the satisfaction of their customers, thereby providing training to young unemployed people as well as protecting the environment.

The company alleviates gaps and challenges by provision of training and incentives such as health insurance, social security and discount on products to their workers. They are striving to continually improve their systems to meet current trends and customer satisfaction. KoliKo Wear takes records of the quantity of discarded clothes up-cycled, shoes produced, number of people employed and feedback from customers. These records serve as mechanism for monitoring and evaluation.

KoliKo Wear obtains its revenue from sales of their products. However, the initial implementation was supported by the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (https://www.ghanacic.org/).

Kolics Company Ltd. (KoliKo Wear)
Pakos Ave, near SOS
GHA - Takoradi Market

phone: +233 20 759 2478

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