A self-taught man from Burkina Faso, Philippe Yoda decided to conduct research on plastic bag litter management. He is the founder of the Association pour l'Innovation et la Recherche Technologique Appropriée en Environnement (AIRTAE) whose goal, among others, is to popularize the process he has designed that gives a second life to plastic bags. This process has been patented with OAPI (Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle or African Intellectual Property Organization).
The process starts with the collection of plastic bags which are then sorted before they are washed. The second stage consists of grinding plastic bags that will then be gas-heated (melted). The melting is then poured into molds and transformed into various objects such as tables, benches, stools, tiles (to replace iron or steel sheets), floor tiles or cobblestones, road signs (for which the first 100 required about 1.2 tons of plastic bags), water meter boxes, etc.
The quantities of plastic waste processed by Philippe Yoda and his team are still modest compared to the 40,000 tons of plastic waste produced annually in the capital Ouagadougou. In 2004, AIRTAE had processed 10 tons of plastic waste, 47 tons in 2005 and 99 tons in 2007. The activity is growing, therefore.
The Office National de l'Eau et de l'Assainissement (ONEA) or the National Bureau of Water and Sanitation has asked Philippe Yoda to manufacture plastic water meter boxes. He was also backed up financially by the Banque Régionale de Solidarité (BRS) which granted him a loan of about €45,800 (30 million CFA francs). The amount is modest, but this is a good start that allows the inventor and his association to live on their income.
Philippe Yoda was awarded the gold medal at the Salon International de l'Innovation, organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In December 2008, at the 8 edition of the Forum de la Recherche Scientifique et de l'Innovation Technologique (FRSIT) Philippe Yoda won the “President du Faso” Prize worth €3,048 (2 million CFA francs) for his plastic recycling process. He also received a prize from the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Industrielle (OAPI) that is worth €1,524 (1 million CFA francs).