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July Editions

July Editions

Reducing Plastic Waste: What To Do

by Ajibola Ameerah

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Over 600,000 tons of plastic waste is generated yearly in Lagos State alone with a minute amount properly collected. One major problem of plastic, it is not degradable, at least not for so many years. A common sight is to see plastic waste laying virtually everywhere.

The dangers of plastic waste pollution are numerous ranging from environmental hazards transcending not only on land but also finding its way to the oceans affecting marine life to personal health hazards with the slums as the worst hit areas.

What do we do? How do we reduce the amount of plastic waste generated to the barest minimum considering most consumables are protected or packaged by one form of plastic or the other?

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Below are some easy tips to follow

  1. Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!
  2. Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaner
  3. Repurpose the plastic that you already have. Cups and yogurt tubs make great planters, and bags can be woven into baskets and mats. The tops of water bottles can be sliced off to make awesome seals for bags of food.
  4. Buy detergent that comes in cardboard boxes instead of plastic containers.
  5. Line your garbage bins with paper bags or biodegradable trash bags instead of buying plastic trash bags.
  6. For parties or at work, avoid using disposable cups and plastic utensils. Use real silverware and cups and wash them later or purchase compostable ones.
  7. For the popular pure water, why not make your own drinking water?
  8. Buy cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. They might be messier, but they create much less waste compared with disposables, which don’t decompose and amount to a huge amount of landfill waste per year.
  9. Sell products without packaging.
  10. Buy in bulk
  11. Say no to straws
  12. Have your personal refillable bottle and travel mug handy so you do not have to buy bottled water all the time.

And always remember- It’s Reduce, Reuse, Wecycle!

Culled from:

http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/11-easy-ways-reduce-your-plastic-waste-today.html

http://nationswell.com/37-ways-reduce-plastic-usage/

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/10-ways-reduce-plastic-pollution

July Editions

Interning with Wecyclers has helped me build my skill – Aderayo

Aderayo Onipede Nathaniel

Aderayo Onipede Nathaniel

In a world where developing the right skill set and work experience is increasingly important in the workplace, people around the world are beginning to take up internship roles. The importance of an internship experience cannot be overstated.  Today, employers favor prospective employees who have done not only one internship but multiple internships.  A university education will serve to propel a graduate into a profession by conferring a degree, which demonstrates an academic proficiency in various theoretical and practical examples of ways that a job might be performed.  An internship makes the classroom’s abstract theories, skills and learned examples concrete by placing the student in a real life work situation with real live co-workers performing actual professional tasks, which the job encompasses.

I recently chatted with one of such individuals who sees internships as critical for practical skill development is Aderayo Onipede Nathaniel.  He is a student of the University of Lagos, and a designer who won the Wecyclers design challenge which was hosted by Stutern; an online platform that connects interns with employers. With over 1 year of experience on the job, Rayo says the experience has been amazing.

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Aderayo (c) winner of our design challenge, Boluwaji (l); Head of Business Development, Wecyclers and Taiwo Ayanleye; Co-founder, Stutern

 

At Wecyclers, he works with the communication team to produce materials and publications for a wide range of audience. Rayo’s materials have helped the team in several projects including the largely successful #Clean9ja campaign and the recently launched Independent Contractors program. For him, Wecyclers is doing “God’s work” by keeping waste away from landfills, reducing pollution in turn giving people a cleaner environment and creating value from waste by rewarding subscribers and working at Wecyclers has helped improve his skill and multi task better and as well get to learn more about recycling and an opportunity to explore several other fields and industries working on projects with teams/Wecyclers partners and sponsors from a wide range of industries.

Rayo had words of advice for future individuals interested in picking up an internship role; Get the right skill and know what you want to do, use online platforms to learn and develop your skill, stay relevant and updated in your field of choice.

Ebube Okechukwu

July Editions

Textile Fabric made from Milk

Ajibola Ameerah

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As much as possible, we should aim at waste reduction, reuse, and recycling before throwing out the waste. If waste must go to the bin, please know that the waste may well be the source of wealth for someone.

The idea behind all waste to wealth efforts is that most waste materials are not end products to be disposed of. But rather that waste materials are valuable resources that can be processed and converted into usable materials like textile, paper, fertilizer, fuel, containers, fashion accessories, building materials, food nutrient and bio oxidants to mention a few.

There are lots of benefits to be derived from waste and a lot of options for deriving wealth from waste are being explored and exploited across the world. One success story is a German start- up that uses milk that would have gone to waste to manufacture textile fibres using sustainable processes.

The company Qmilch GmbH, founded by German designer Anke Domaske, has developed an innovative process to produce a textile fiber from milk which cannot be used for consumption.

Casein is the main resource for the textile fibre and it is obtained from raw milk, that is no longer tradable and which cannot be used as food. In Germany where the textile fibre was developed, about 1.9 million tons of milk must be disposed of every year. This milk still contains valuable ingredients and offers great potential for technical purposes. The textile fiber is made from 100% renewable resources and so it is

  • It is biodegradable, leaves no traces and contains 0% chemical additives
  • It is naturally antibacterial and ideal for people that suffer from textile allergies
  • Organic fiber tested for harmful substances and dermatologically tested for skin and
  • Blends well with other fibers
  • Like silk, it’s also temperature regulating, light, absorbent, compostable and flame resistant. Fabrics made from the fiber provide high wearing comfort

If you are thinking of how to turn waste to wealth, the following guidelines may be useful:

  • What is the end product? Will it be useful?
  • What is the source of the waste material to be used for the product? Is it available in large quantities? Can it be available in large quantities? Is it sustainable?
  • What processes will be used for converting the waste?
  • What are the costs/ benefits of the initiative? Consider the environmental and economic costs and benefits? Which is more?
  • How do you aggregate the waste to be converted?
  • How do you get the new product to the market?
  • How will you fund the venture?
  • What partnerships will you require? State involvement? Private ventures?
  • How do you convince stakeholders? Think about your waste suppliers, the consumers of the new product, authorities etc.

You can also join the ‘Wecyclers Independent Contractor Program!

08175340966

franchise.wecyclers.com

So, the next time you are about to throw away that thing; food, paper bottle, anything! Please stop, put on your thinking hat and think; what might this be useful for?
And always remember- It’s Reduce, Reuse, Wecycle!

Culled from:

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sour-milk-fibres-textiles-qmilk

http://www.environmentalleader.com/category/waste-recycling/#ixzz4LfyUb1bC

http://inweh.unu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Waste-to-Wealth-Background-Paper.pdf

http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/JHE/JHE-46-0-000-14-Web/JHE-46-2-000-14-Abst-PDF/JHE-46-2-195-14-2517-Hammed-T-B/JHE-46-2-195-14-2517-Hammed-T-B-Tx[10].pdf

July Editions

How I started Recycling

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Wecyclers subscriber form

Our model solves the urban waste challenge for households by motivating families to recycle plastic bottles, plastic sachets, and aluminum cans through our SMS-based incentive program. For every kilogram of material that families recycle with us, they receive redeemable Wecyclers points over their cell phones in return. Families can then redeem their points for goods that they value, such as cell phone minutes, basic food items, and household goods. This makes redemption day pretty much an eventful ceremony for our subscribers and of course for us as a team.

Having to get rewards for accumulated points from recyclables brings some sense of pride, the pride similar to eating/cooking agricultural produce from your backyard garden. We had one of such redemptions recently and it was pure joy to witness the enthusiasm on the part of subscribers at the community.

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Mrs Comfort Bassey (L) and Daniel Bassey (R) displaying some of the items redeemed with Wecyclers staff

This redemption held in a community in the Lagos Central senatorial district had residents in about 4 streets within the community redeem their points for household items. One of such persons was Comfort Bassey. Mrs Bassey is a petty trader and lives in this neighborhood with her family.

According to her, she got to hear about recycling through her son. “He came to me and requesting I allow him register to register to give his waste out for gifts”. Comfort says she gave him her permission in December, 2015 and also went ahead to ensure all recyclable materials were kept, gradually she says they gave their waste and the entire family and other residents got involved in the drive to keep recyclables.

When my son and I started, people around thought we were joking about getting rewards for waste but I can tell you now about five other families in my “yard” are now giving out their waste to Wecyclers

When asked what she thought about the reward system, Mrs Bassey says; It has made a difference for us around here, before now the recyclables; plastics, beverage cans e.t.c would litter the street and sometimes we dump them somewhere but now you barely ever find one because everyone is conscious as they know they can get something from it, today I’m getting beverage, noodles, household items from what I normally would have thrown away, it is totally different from what we do before by paying to have our waste picked by PSP and the bola although we still give them waste but not after we have picked/taken out(sort) what we want to give Wecyclers.

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Reuben Lawal displays recyclables he gathered recently

Having to chat with Mrs Comfort’s son, Daniel Bassey gave another exciting angle to her recycling story.  Daniel a teenager and Junior Secondary student says he got to hear about Wecyclers in school; I heard about it through my friends in school and in December when they (the Wecyclers team) came for an outreach I took the flier and the form to show my mum and request for her permission and since then we have been recycling. Daniel says recycling helps him practicalize sanitation which he learns in his school curriculum and more importantly he is benefiting from it. Through Daniel, Wecyclers has gained some more subscribers including the five subscribers from his residence, their families and others like Reuben Lawal (a Primary six pupil) and his mum.

Recycling may be new to them but it is something that this community is embracing fast and more importantly through the awareness we are having a younger generation become aware of the need to recycle and the benefits it affords them. Daniel, Mrs Comfort, Reuben and others are taking action and spreading the word about recycling, what are you doing and what is your recycling story?

July Editions

From a subscriber to an Apostle; Jubril shares his story

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Mrs Katimi Jibrin

Mrs Katimi Jibrin A.K.A Hajia is a supervisor at Wecyclers and manages 23 sorters and six recycle boys. Asides been a family woman with children on the home front including Jummai, her weekly routine involves managing the people who work with her at the hub and on Saturdays she joins the team on pick-ups and routine inspections in a view to ensure customer satisfaction.

Joining her on a Saturday inspection ensured we had a feel of what she thinks about Wecyclers and as well getting feedback from customers. Mrs Jibrin an indigene of Kogi state has been working with Wecyclers for over a year however she has been into recycling for a longer period working with an organization that makes use of recyclable materials to produce new products. However Hajia thinks Wecyclers idea is novel and completely different and with wages far above the national average, she says staffs under her are a lot happier and the prospects of growth is enormous. In one year, Hajia says her team has been able to expand its reach to several communities and there are more in sight.

 

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Mrs Katimi Jibrin weighs Jubril Aminu’s waste

Hajia and the team are picking up from a neighborhood that includes a regular subscriber who doubles as a Wecyclers staff; Jibril Aminu is a student and rounded off  his O/levels this July, Wecyclers has however given him an opportunity to earn from his waste first through the exchange of waste for value ” I go as far as three streets away every morning to pick up plastics so my points can increase” and as well earn from his skill, during school vacations, he works as a “recycle boy” riding one of the wecycles around streets for pickup of recyclables within the neighborhood.

 

When we go on vacation i come to my job at Wecyclers, and when we resume i go back to school

In less than a year of getting to know about Wecyclers, Jibril has redeemed his points for several items including gas cooker, toaster, cash rewards e.t.c noodles this excites him but what makes it a lot more fun for him is the opportunity to earn and have his holiday properly utilized working as a recycling boy and contributing to keep waste off  the streets. Jibril says he has become an “Apostle of Wecyclers” as he has told people around him about the initiative and more importantly displayed his rewards.

Jibril is resuming at the hub next month having finished his high school year but he is aiming high and would want to go to the university soon. “I am resuming at work so I can save a little to go further in school.” he adds.

Hajia and Jibril and other members of our team ensure our work goes on well contributing to the success we currently have and prospects of getting better at what we do.

July Editions

For Jummai, diligence and commitment breeds success

“I’ve come to learn that there’s no shame in working with waste, they say if you want clean money you  have to get it from dirty”  says Jummai Sadiq, a member of the Wecyclers sorting team. Born and raised in Lagos, Jummai speaks four Nigerian languages, studied up to O levels, and hopes to join a work and study program soon.

_DSC0297As a sorter at the Itire hub, one of the 3 operational hubs of Wecyclers, She is involved in post pick up activities but Jummai’s is not one to limit herself to sorting of the recyclable waste as she gets involved in almost all stages of the operation. On a typical Saturday she joins the pickup team visiting several communities in Lagos and ensuring the team gets the right recyclables picked up. “We always let them know we want the best of PET” she says.  Her knowledge of four Nigerian languages makes her an asset like other teammates as this also helps the team interact well with subscribers who are from diverse ethnic groups.

On Wecyclers operation, “Wecyclers has helped a lot in Lagos, it’s like doing a cleanup/sanitation everyday, picking up waste, cleaning the environment and getting people within their communities to know there’s also value in the waste”. I think the government also has a role to play in our operation, we can do better as an organization and cover more locations in Lagos. The response around the areas we currently cover is impressive and that means we can make more impact but of course we need more funding, partnerships from both the government and the private sector. We have been able to create awareness with the little team we have and I tell my colleagues we need to put in more effort as a team.

 

“I’ve come to learn that there’s no shame in working with waste, they say if you want clean money you  have to get it from dirty”  

 

Jummai became friends with a Wecyclers teammate, who explained to her ab_DSC0317out the organization and let her know when the opportunity arose. Jummai joined the Wecyclers team in 2015 and has been instrumental in the processing/sorting of recyclable waste. “When I joined, one of my regular tasks was sorting the recyclables because they are usually mixed up by our customers/ subscribers, we separate the PPE, PET, cans e.t.c  getting them ready for the crushers and bailers”. It was initially a scary task as it involved handling wastes she recalls.

 

One year on, Jummai has achieved a lot during her time at Wecyclers. “I am proud to have trained most of the sorting staff we have today,” she beams. “I’ve also had to supervise other sorters and other levels of operation when the need arises” She says.

Jummai’s diligence and work ethic has helped her rise up the ranks in a short while. She sometimes supervises a team of 20 staff within the sorting section of the processing hub.

Every morning, Jummai gets to work by 7:30 am and begins with a line tour of the Hub. By 8:00am, when the rest of the crew arrives, it is time to look through the tasks for the day. Together, the team identifies tasks that they have accomplished, those that are pending, and those they aim to undertake during the day. She says.

_DSC0413Jummai attributes her success to diligence, commitment, and a good working relationship with her supervisor, the team and also what she has learnt here. “I have learnt how to manage things and people since I came in contact with Wecyclers and to value what I have”. What we do here makes you value waste more and appreciate She adds.

When it comes to her personal life/career, Jummai is aiming higher “I am optimistic about furthering my education, with a stable job and good benefits, I can save up and  work alongside schooling” she smiles.

Jummai, is our Wecyclers person of the month!

July Editions

Recycling Facts and Trivias

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This day and age, there are a lot of people out there that take part in recycling. Some do it because they want to, and others do it because they are pushed to do so. Either way, recycling can really make a difference in the environment and it is something that more and more people should begin to do. Here are a few facts about recycling that you may not have known before.

Below are 40 facts about Recycling
Fact 1: Recycling is a process to create new items from old and used materials. This helps in reducing energy and potentially useful materials from being wasted.
Fact 2: Recycling is a part of waste disposal hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Fact 3: Aluminium cans can actually be recycled and put back onto the shelf at your local grocery store in just about 2 months.
Fact 4: Aluminium cans are probably the most recycled item, at least in the United States. While this is true, you can also recycle other forms of aluminium as well.
Fact 5: Recycling an aluminium can help to save a great deal of energy, in fact, enough to run your home television for about three hours!
Fact 6: Most beverage cans are made up of aluminium, even though there are other products that go into it as well.
Fact 7: If you throw away your aluminium cans, they can stay in that can form for up to 500 years or more- so recycling is the way to go.
Fact 8: Variety of raw materials including paper, plastic, metal, glass, electronics and textiles can be recycled.
Fact 9: You can recycle aluminium over and over again, and there is really no limit to it.
Fact 10: There are over 80 billion aluminium cans used each and every year around the world.
Fact 11: Aluminium used to be more valuable than gold, many years ago.
Fact 12: Half a million trees have to be cut down just to produce the Sunday newspapers each week.
Fact 13: Recycling a single days worth of the New York Times could save 75,000 trees or more.
Fact 14: Recycling helps to conserve our natural resources like coal, oil and gas.
Fact 15: If we recycled all newspapers, we could save over 250 million trees each and every year.
Fact 16: Most people in America all use at least seven trees each year, through wood, paper and other types of products that use trees. That is over 2 trillion trees throughout the course of the year when you think about it.
Fact 17: Each American uses around 680 pounds of paper each year, and most people just throw it away instead of recycling it for further use.
Fact 18: 2000 pounds of recycled paper can actually help to save 17 trees, over 350 gallons of oil, and a lot of landfill space. That also means less air pollution!
Fact 19: Recycling helps to conserve energy and as a result less greenhouse gases are emitted.
Fact 20: Americans will use over 2 and a half million plastic bottles every thirty minutes, and most of them are simply thrown away rather than recycled.
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Fact 21: Plastic bags that are thrown into the ocean kill over a million sea creatures a year.
Fact 22: Over 60% of the trash that ends in dustbin could be recycled.
Fact 23: Over 25 trillion Styrofoam coffee cups are thrown away each year, just by Americans!
Fact 24: Glass jars can be recycled, but there are many that are just thrown away.
Fact 25: 24 trees are cut down to make 1 ton of newspaper.
Fact 26: Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and as a result less harmful emissions like methane gas are released into the earth’s atmosphere.
Fact 27: A modern glass bottle could take over 4000 years to actually decompose, and if it is in the landfill then it will probably take even longer than that.
Fact 28: Most dumps are made up of a third of packaging materials that could be recycled.
Fact 29: Recycled paper produces approximately 70% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.
Fact 30: Each year, there are organic garbage thrown out that could be composted and recycled to use for fertilizer for the ground rather than pollutants.
Fact 31: Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again. Glass recycling is separated into colors because glass retains its color even after recycling.
Fact 32: The most thrown away products in American include diapers, pens, razor blades, tires and aluminium- all of which can be used to be recycled into other products.
Fact 33: Due to the fact that people aren’t recycling as much as they should, the rainforests are actually be cut down by about 100 acres a minute.
Fact 34: Most people produce 4.4 pounds of trash per day that results in about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
Fact 35: Plastic bags and garbage that are thrown into the ocean have devastating effect on sea animals.
Fact 36: Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown in US every year.
Fact 37: The amount of wood and paper that are thrown each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
Fact 38: Recycling one ton of plastic can save up to 1,000–2,000 gallons of gasoline.
Fact 39: Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
Fact 40: One drip one second from a leaky faucet wastes 540 gallons of water a year.

As you can see, there is a lot of great information out there about recycling. If you have never considered recycling, or have thought about it and thought that it would really not be worth your while, you may want to think again. It can actually help to save you money in the long run, but more importantly it is great for the environment. It doesn’t take too much extra effort on your part, and if more people would do it then the world would be a much cleaner place to be.

Source:

What is Energy?


http://www.advanceddisposal.com/
http://www.recyclingbins.co.uk/

July Editions

The Swedish Recycling Revolution

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With its ongoing recycling revolution, less than one per cent of Sweden’s household waste ends up in a rubbish dump. The rest is recycled in different ways.

Towards zero waste

Wouldn’t it be great if no household waste was wasted? If each and every item of refuse was turned into something else – new products, raw materials, gas or at least heat?

Sweden is almost there. More than 99 per cent of all household waste is recycled in one way or another. This means that the country has gone through something of a recycling revolution in the last decades, considering that only 38 per cent of household waste was recycled in 1975 (see chart).

Today, recycling stations are as a rule no more than 300 metres from any residential area. Most Swedes separate all recyclable waste in their homes and deposit it in special containers in their block of flats or drop it off at a recycling station. Few other nations deposit less in rubbish dumps.

Stepping up recycling

Weine Wiqvist, CEO of the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association (Avfall Sverige), still thinks Swedes can do more, considering that about half of all household waste is burnt, that is, turned into energy. He explains that reusing materials or products means using less energy to create a product, than burning one and making another from scratch.

‘We are trying to “move up the refuse ladder”, as we say, from burning to material recycling, by promoting recycling and working with authorities’, he says.

Meanwhile, Swedish households keep separating their newspapers, plastic, metal, glass, electric appliances, light bulbs and batteries. Many municipalities also encourage consumers to separate food waste. And all of this is reused, recycled or composted.

Newspapers are turned into paper mass, bottles are reused or melted into new items, plastic containers become plastic raw material; food is composted and becomes soil or biogas through a complex chemical process. Rubbish trucks are often run on recycled electricity or biogas. Wasted water is purified to the extent of being potable. Special rubbish trucks go around cities and pick up electronics and hazardous waste such as chemicals. Pharmacists accept leftover medicine. Swedes take their larger waste, such as a used TV or broken furniture, to recycling centres on the outskirts of the cities.

Waste to energy

Let’s take a closer look at the 50 per cent of the household waste that is burnt to produce energy at incineration plants. Waste is a relatively cheap fuel and Sweden has, over time, developed a large capacity and skill in efficient and profitable waste treatment. Sweden even imports 700,000 tonnes of waste from other countries.

The remaining ashes constitute 15 per cent of the weight before burning. From the ashes, metals are separated and recycled, and the rest, such as porcelain and tile, which do not burn, is sifted to extract gravel that is used in road construction. About one per cent still remains and is deposited in rubbish dumps.

The smoke from incineration plants consists of 99.9 per cent non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, but is still filtered through dry filters and water. The dry filters are deposited. The sludge from the dirty filter water is used to refill abandoned mines.

In Sweden, burning waste to produce energy is uncontroversial, but in other countries – like the US – it is a much debated topic.

Doing better

Hans Wrådhe heads the section for waste and chemicals at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) and considers proposing a higher levy on waste collection.

‘That would increase everybody’s awareness of the problem’, he says.

Together with government agencies and corporations, Wrådhe has developed an action plan for waste prevention, including how to encourage producers to make products that last longer. The agency also considers proposing a tax deduction for some repairs.

‘Government-sponsored ads on how to avoid food waste might also help’, he says. ‘And less toxic substances used in production would mean fewer products that require expensive treatment.’

On TV, sandwiched between other commercials, the Pantamera videos try to encourage people to return used bottles to grocery stores – ‘panta mera’ means recycle more. Well-known artists record songs substituting ‘panta mera’ for ‘Guantanamera’ in the classic song.

See for yourself: Pantamera videos

In this stationary vacuum system, users throw their waste into ordinary inlets, where the bags are stored temporarily. All full inlets are then emptied at regular intervals through a network of underground pipes.

Companies joining the effort

Some Swedish companies have voluntarily joined in the struggle. For example, H&M has begun accepting used clothing from customers in exchange for rebate coupons in an initiative called Garment Collecting.

The Optibag company has developed a machine that can separate coloured waste bags from each other. People throw food in a green bag, paper in a red one, and glass or metal in another. Once at the recycling plant, Optibag sorts the bags automatically. This way, waste sorting stations could be eliminated.

The southern Swedish city of Helsingborg even fitted public waste bins with loudspeakers playing pleasant music – all in the name of recycling.

Back to Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association CEO Wiqvist, who thinks perfection in recycling is possible, an idea worth striving for.

‘“Zero waste” – that is our slogan’, he says. ‘We would prefer less waste being generated, and that all the waste that is generated is recycled in some way. Perfection may never happen, but it certainly is a fascinating idea.’

Source:

Sweden.se

July Editions

Weka: A Tanzanian Opportunity

Around Africa, the success story of Wecyclers has inspired a waste management movement, one of which is WEKA of Tanzania. Noella Moshi shares with us what is special about WEKA and how the organisation is changing the way people think of waste in Tanzania.

Tanzania is a beautiful place. Over 1.1 million tourists visited the country in 2015. Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, National parks; these places are worth preserving.

However as the population grows, we are in danger of having irreversible damage done to the country. Approximately 4,200 tons per day of solid waste was generated in Dar es Salaam in 2011. It’s estimated that this amount will have tripled by 2025. Less than 40% of waste is collected – and collected waste is dumped without recycling. The remaining 60% is discarded on roadsides and in drainage canals.  At the same time, a population, the size of which we have never seen before, is emerging. The number of Tanzanians will more than double in the next 22 years, going from 40 million to almost 100 million by 2038. Tanzania’s current waste management infrastructure can’t keep up with the pace of waste generation.

Usually, having more people means there’s less to go around. But the opposite can be true.  By realizing the potential of waste as a resource, we have the opportunity to turn our demographic liability into a demographic dividend. We can use our increasing population to our advantage by capitalizing on the one reliable by-product of population growth: waste.

The value in waste is best harnessed in countries where labor is cheap, transportation costs are low, policy is flexible, and the booming population provides increasing quantities of the resource. These conditions are present in Tanzania. Also, Tanzania is young in many ways, and has the ability to adopt good recycling habits.

Cue Weka. Weka means “to keep” in Swahili. It is an organization that, by recovering waste for profit at a countrywide scale, will improve both the economy and the environment.

Weka aims to become the one-stop waste-to-resource infrastructure for Tanzania. Initially, Weka will act as a platform to connect small business waste-generators with large-scale buyers, through waste aggregation and resell. In phase 2, Weka will graduate to processing waste in-house to create products that are worth 4X the value of the raw material. Weka will also partner with Government to co-create policy around recycling – policy that will make it faster and cheaper to clean up the country.

By building a waste supply chain across the country, Weka will also employ and up-skill thousands of youth. Employees (“Wekas”) will go through a 2-year up or out model where they learn soft skills and selling techniques while they earn. By the time Wekas graduate from the program, they will be able to land any other customer-facing entry-level job they desire. This employability training is inspired by the impactful work done at WAVE (www.waveacademies.org) to place hundreds of youth into entry-level jobs in Nigeria.

To achieve these goals, it is critical to build a sustainable organization that works at a systems level, leverages the growing youth population, and decides based on data.

The conditions are ripe for profitable waste-to-resource mobilization in Tanzania. Inspired by Wecyclers and other social enterprises in Nigeria, Weka hopes to change the way we think about waste in Tanzania.

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Contributor:

Noella Moshi is from Tanzania. She has helped create three social enterprises in the health and education space in South Africa and Nigeria. Noella holds a Masters in Clinical Science from the University of Cape Town, and is a Mandela-Rhodes Scholar. You can reach her at noellaDmoshi@gmail.com

July Editions

For Olakeyede, passion has turned into work

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Olakeyede Olayinka

I have always been passionate about the environment and climate change as it is without any doubt one of the greatest challenges we face in our world today. In my final year at the University of Manchester, I took up a research project on renewable energy potential in developing countries. After I graduated, I decided to move back to Nigeria and Wecyclers seemed like an excellent fit for me. I have been an intern at Wecyclers since the beginning of the year. As Wecyclers is a startup, my roles here are very flexible. My roles vary from technology analysis to business development and sometimes, public relations.

Working at Wecyclers has been a very exciting and eye opening experience. I have learnt that running a business in Nigeria could be quite daunting given the dearth of social infrastructure in the country. Sometimes, we come up with novel ideas to improve our business operations but the process of implementing them here could be convoluted. For example, one major challenge we face is the epileptic power supply. This slows us down and reduces our productivity drastically. Working here makes me think outside the box to come up with creative solutions for some of issues we face on a daily basis. Working at Wecyclers is fun, particularly because I get along pretty well with my colleagues, which keeps all of us going even on a very busy and stressful day.

My time here, although short, has also unwittingly piqued my interest in the business development of various startups in Nigeria. Specifically, improving businesses by integrating technology. After my internship, I am going to pursue my masters degree at Columbia University in New York.  I hope to move back home again to help small to medium sized businesses in Nigeria to thrive and create more sustainable jobs for the teeming youth population.