Location: Lagos, Nigeria
About 60 percent of the 12 million people living in the slums of Lagos do not have access to reliable trash collection and are left to deal with waste disposal on their own. As a result, mountains of waste pile up, and just 13% of recyclable materials is salvaged. In addition, unmanaged landfills leave Lagos residents vulnerable to increased flooding, disease spread, and psychological stress. Even with the cost of private waste collection at $2 per month, it remains out of reach for the 91 percent of Lagos residents living on less than $1.25 per day.
In order to solve this urban waste challenge, Bilikiss Adebiyi launched Wecyclers in August 2012. “Wecycles” are low-cost, non-polluting cargo bicycles that navigate narrow roads in urban neighborhoods to collect recyclable waste. The riders, often youth from local communities, go door to door to collect and weigh plastic bottles, plastic sachets, and aluminum cans for recycling. In return, Wecyclers rewards households with redeemable points which can be used to redeem cell phone minutes, basic food items and household goods. After collection, Wecyclers provides local recycling processors with a supply of well-sorted, high quality recyclable material, which can be used to manufacture new goods.
By the end of 2013, Wecyclers recycled 84 tons of PET plastic, 17 tons of aluminum, and 69 tons of sachet, preventing the release of 477,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, the company has spurred job creation and made a tangible difference in the health of low-income communities. In the future, Wecyclers plans to expand their sustainable initiative to other states in Nigeria, and indeed Africa.
Environmental Impact: Avoided CO2 emissions, reduced landfills and sustainable solid waste management
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