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Recycled Beads & Buttons

Nothing gets wasted in Africa

In the developing world and in Africa in particular, anything and everything you might find rusting or rotting in the street has potential.

Are those broken Star beer bottles rubbish? Or are they the raw material of a booming village industry in the hills around Koforidua, Ghana?

For the artisan bead makers of the area, any broken bottle, jar, container or window can be ground into a powder and fired into beads.

These beads are a highly marketable product, one that earns money and feeds families. They are also an important element of local culture: worn, used and treasured.

The variety of designs is astounding. Some are replicas of the original trade beads that came to West Africa from Europe; others are new designs which the makers hope will appeal to a new market, both local and international.

Video: Preserving Ghana's Bead Culture

Star beer bottlesStar beer bottles will become recycled glass beads: near Koforidua, Ghana
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