Ghana is Green

Making the Gyapa stoves. The metal part is 100% recycled tin.

My boyfriend is on the board of Relief International, and I’m in Accra, Ghana with him while he attends RI’s board meeting. Ghana has the fastest growing economy in Africa due to its wealth of natural resources, yet in rural areas poverty is pervasive. RI has implemented several programs in Ghana to improve sanitation, purify water and most impressively, advance the use of energy efficient stoves. The Gyapa stove cuts charcoal use by half, saves money and reduces carbon emissions.

In addition, the production and manufacture of Gyapa stoves has created many jobs. We were able to visit stores that sell the stoves, restaurants that use the stoves, the ceramic plant that employs 50 people who make the heat-insulating liners and two metal workers. One of them, Peter, works out of the Accra garbage dump, where he is able to easily find the recyclable tin that is used to make the body of the stove.

A huge, sad pile of old flip-flops. Take a good look at where your discarded items end up!

The dump is massive and nothing like anything I’ve seen before. It’s a community of people who work and live there and sort different items into huge piles that eventually get recycled. It was inspiring for me to see how every product finds its pile, and to see waste being reused in such an effective way.

Because my main interest is clothing and how to effectively reduce its carbon footprint, I was drawn to a pile of flip-flops that I saw on my way in. Flip-flops are purely disposable shoes that, as you can see from these photos, are terrible for the environment. I urge everyone to purchase items with a long life to avoid more and more piles like this from accumulating in the world.

Ghanaians are extremely welcoming people, and they love to have their photo taken. This family lives at the dump.

For more info on RI, the countries they work in and their programs in Ghana, visit

About Elisa Casas

ELISA CASAS (that’s me) was born and raised in New York City. I have a BFA in Photography from NYU and worked as a photojournalist and talent scout for major record labels before opening Chelsea Girl in 1993. I also owned Laurel Canyon Vintage, Clutch! and a popular cafe, City Girl Cafe, and I starred in the groundbreaking Sundance series, “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” with my best friend, David Munk. I like pomegranates, clouds, “Exile on Main Street,” birthdays, ancient ruins, the beach, abstract art, cypress trees, “Annie Hall,” old diamonds, Almodovar, clam shacks, surprises, Anne Boleyn, popcorn, “Rebecca,” margaritas, pugs, apple pie and castles in Spain. I live in TriBeCa with my fashionable daughter, Ruby. Follow Chelsea Girl on Facebook- and Instagram-ChelseaGirlVintage
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ghana is Green

  1. grandmaeileensvintage says:

    interesting post x

  2. Bhavana says:

    well, I don’t feel so bad now splurging almost 2 days pay on a pair of Frye boots that I will certainly have for life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s