All the beads are made from glass bottles which would otherwise be thrown in a ditch or field. There’s no official garbage collection yet in Ghana nor are there any recycling plants.
The bottles are pounded down to very small pieces with a metal pipe inside a large plastic bucket.
Worker safety is not yet a concept that has been taught in Ghana, and they do this without using goggles to protect their eyes from flying shards.
The pieces are then placed in molds before being melted in small ovens.
There are various styles of molds to produce beads of varying shapes and sizes.
The molds are made on site with clay from termite mounds, giant homes termites build for themselves from the red clay earth. Beadmakers have found that termite clay resists heat from the ovens better and makes the molds less prone to cracking.
They believe it has some connection with the saliva the termites produce to construct their homes.