GAFREH Plastic Bag Recycling Centre

Producing eco-friendly items from recycled plastic bags
2011 SEED Award Winner Waste Management Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso

Founded in 2003 by GAFREH, an association of women artisans, the recycling centre makes eco-friendly fashion goods and decorative handicraft products out of used plastic bags. The initiative provides an innovative solution to pollution caused by plastic waste in Burkina Faso, whilst encouraging women to become commercially autonomous. The women collect plastic bags from the streets then transform them using various craft techniques (weaving, knitting, melting, casting) at the recycling centre. The centre currently creates jobs for more than 85 women. It offers technical support in designing and developing products and suggests financing opportunities for these self-employed women. The products are sold through fair trade distribution channels on domestic and international markets, in boutiques and at events such as fairs. 

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

The initiative provides an innovative solution to pollution caused by plastic waste in Burkina Faso, whilst encouraging women to become commercially autonomous.
  • Offering women and girls an income-generating activity and encouraging them to be financially autonomous.
  • Providing technical and managerial training and financing opportunities where profits are reinvested in new social actions.
  • Recycling used plastic bags to contribute to sanitation and helping combat pollution in Burkina Faso
  • Promoting better waste management awareness amongst the local population.

  • Contributing to the socioeconomic development of the country and raising the value of handicraft products from Burkina Faso on the international market.
  • Attracting tourists to the centre helping improve the local economy.


This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

GAFREH – Groupe d’Action des Femmes pour la Relance Economique du Houet is the majority partner and leads the management of the initiative.

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) provides technical and financial support.

The Ministry of Environment of Burkina Faso (Ministère de l’Environnement et du Cadre de Vie) provides technical and financial support

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs (Ministère de la Promotion de la Femme) provides technical and financial support.

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