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July Editions

July Editions

Recycling Household Waste

household wasteIn the course of most human activities substantial quantities of various wastes are generated. Now it is quite clear that such waste should be properly managed. Without appropriate waste management we would soon live on dumpsites and landfills than in our homes. The recent development in the suburbs of Beirut due to the city’s ongoing garbage crisis is a reminder. We only have to decide on whether we will recover, regenerate and reuse the waste otherwise disposed of, or not.

If, for instance, a plastic cup is discarded in mixed waste, such used packaging will lose not only any chance to be reused, but also its value. However, if household waste is properly sorted already at the household, particular waste items can be recycled and reused in the form of new, commonly applicable products.

Rubbish must be sorted at source in order for it to be recycled. 

The easiest way for waste sorting is at the point of origination, i.e., in your household at the end of the concerned item‘s service life as soon as you want to throw it away.  Simply, the packaging should be put into a basket, bag or box designed for the appropriate sorted waste type.

From experience it ensues that an average household mostly produces paper and plastic wastes. The largest spaces should therefore be reserved for putting the two waste types aside. Scrap glass should be best stored in plastic boxes. Many people put used beverage cartons in the same box or bag as used for used plastic packages leading to additional sorting at collecting containers (if not collected together).

Sorting rubbish

The following categories of rubbish can be sorted:

 Household waste

Glass: empty bottles and jars without cap or lid. In most municipalities, clear glass and coloured glass must be separated. New glass containers are made from the recycled glass. Warning: ceramics, tempered glass, pyrex or fireproof glass, mirrors, window panes and lightbulbs must not be included in the glass waste, but disposed of with bulky waste.

Paper and cardboard: newspapers, magazines, boxes and similar must be sufficiently clean to be recycled. Warning:  paper tissues, kitchen roll, stickers, juice boxes, carbon paper and wallpaper, dirty or grease paper and cellophane paper are not recyclable as paper and should be kept separately and disposed of in the regulation bag for non-sorted waste.

Plastic, Metal and Drink waste (PMD): packaging made of plastic or metal and drink cartons are used for recycling purposes to make new packaging, textile fibres, etc. Warning: butter wrappers, plastic pots (eg. yoghurt pots), packaging for hazardous and poisonous products, plastic bags and aluminum foil must not be included with the PMD waste. Put these in the regulation bag for non-sorted rubbish.

Organic waste: Greens (vegetables), fruit and garden waste, trimmings, grass and leaves are compostable. This waste can be collected at your home. It is also easy to compost it yourself for use in your garden.

Small hazardous waste or small chemical waste: syringes, fluorescent lamps, detergents, cosmetics, paint and varnish, used oil, pesticides and similar are harmful to the health and the environment. They need to be collected separately.

Reusable textiles: clothing, shoes, bed linen and similar are picked up at your home try to cultivate a habit of giving away used clothes in good condition to the less fortunate.

Discarded electrical and electronic appliances:  Refrigerators, televisions, computers, washing machines and similar can be handed in for free at the point of sales or at recycling plants.

– Culled from:


July Editions

Kitchen Waste: The Problem




By Ajibola Ameerahkitchen waste

Over the last few years, food waste has not been of major concern. Most people do not bother about food waste because it eventually rots away. With more information at our disposal, Food waste is a growing area of concern with many costs to our community in terms of waste collection, disposal and greenhouse gases.

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted each year. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa without forgetting that over 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.

When food rots, it creates methane (CH4) which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Every time food is wasted, it is not just only about the food. The water, energy, time, manpower, land, fertilizer, fuel, packaging and MONEY put into growing, preparing, storing, transporting, cooking the food is also wasted.

If food waste was a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest emitter of CO2.

Food waste can be generated from

  • Spoiled or out of date food
  • Peelings & trimmings
  • Inedible by-products, e.g. bones, coffee grounds, tea leaves
  • Kitchen error
  • Plate waste

So, what do we do to reduce and properly manage our food waste

  1. Shop wisely
  2. Store food correctly
  3. Use your freezer
  4. Cook what you need
  5. Use leftovers
  6. Refuse and re-use packaging
  7. Recycle waste
  8. Compost food scraps
  9. Finish all foods cooked
  10. Grow your own food.

Lets do our part in helping our environment.


July Editions

Reducing, Recycling and Reusing Paper

By: Ajibola Ameerah

Coolection of slices of paper isolated on white background

Coolection of slices of paper isolated on white background

Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. It is a valuable material with many uses including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning, and a number of industrial and construction processes.

In most homes, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, notepads etc. are found to be in abundance with little or no use. Soon, these papers become too much trouble and create a nuisance.

So, what do we do with them? Here are some tips on how to properly manage the growing piles of paper in our homes and also our various places of work.

Reducing Paper: The first step is to reduce the amount of paper we bring into our homes. With the wide increase of computer usage, many newspaper and magazine publishers have made articles that are found on printed sheets to be available online for us to read. Instead of buying newspapers every day, you can access the internet and read all your favourite articles online.

You can also reduce paper by

  • Leaving paper cases at the mall or market when you can
  • Avoid printing documents if you do not need them and print on both sides of the paper
  • Tell your kids and friends about paper reduction.

Reusing Paper: Have you ever thought of using your old newspapers, calendars, old sheets etc. to do something creative? This will be perfect if you have little kids around to keep them busy and increase their creativity. One way to reuse your old sheets is to create pieces of home decoration. You can achieve that by making PAPER MACHE. It can be simply put as mashed paper or “chewed paper” in French. There are various processes in making paper mache but i will give one of the simplest ways to achieve it.

You will need;

  • Old newspapers or any type of paper you want to get rid of
  • Starch
  • Water and
  • a bowl

Method: Soak the paper in water until the paper is really soft, you might decide to boil it to speed up the process. When the paper is soft, it is easy to shred. Once that is achieved, squeeze out the excess water as much as possible and add starch. Now, you can start creating whatever you want. Put out in the sun to dry and paint if desired. If you are sculpting on another object, remember to add cooking oil on the surface so the paper is not stuck when it is dry.

Paper mache bowl.

Paper mache

Paper mache

For more information on paper mache and other home paper decor, visit:


Lastly and perhaps the most important, recycling paper; Recycling generally has so many advantages and so is recycling paper. Apart from eliminating unwanted materials in your homes, it also creates raw materials for recycling companies.

Recycling paper also has a lot of financial benefits. For example in the US, the annual payroll of recycled paper, paperboard and deinked market pulp mills is $6.9 billion. A lot of job opportunities are also created in the line of recycling. About one million jobs are created world wide in the paper recycling business. Recycling one ton of newsprint saves about 1 ton of wood while recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood.

* Instead of felling more trees to create new paper, you can contribute to helping the environment by supplying your unused paper to local paper recycling companies around you*

Culled from


July Editions

Changing The Game of Recycling

With a combined fortune of over $7 billion, Anthony Pratt and Zhang Yin have revolutionized the recycling trade with their focus on paper recycling to cardboard boxes.

anthony Pratt

Anthony Pratt stands among 30-foot rolls of paper — all made entirely from recycled paper. (Photo: Jamel Toppin for Forbes.)

For Anthony Pratt, His privately held Pratt Industries is one of the fastest-growing players in America’s $35 billion corrugated packaging industry and the only big boxmaker using 100%-recycled paper. By taking the nation’s paper trash–yellowed newspapers and greasy pizza boxes–and turning it into new packaging, Pratt has helped bolster a personal fortune FORBES estimates at $3.4 billion, while saving some 50,000 trees a day. That’s especially significant in today’s world of online shopping, where everything comes in a box. “We were in recycling before recycling was cool,” says Pratt, 55.

Pratt’s journey began at a single wasteful paper mill in 1991. That’s when he was dispatched to the U.S. from Australia, where his family operated Visy, a recycled-packaging juggernaut founded by his grandfather in 1948. (Today Pratt Industries and Visy operate as sister companies, both run by Pratt.) Arriving in the country he quickly saw a gap in the market. Everyone was making paper from trees. Why wasn’t anyone just recycling the stuff heading for the landfills, as Visy did in Australia? He soon shuttered the Macon mill and focused on recycling the waste produced by competitors.

A Pratt Industries employee walks through a maze of refuse that will soon be turned into some of the 12,000 boxes Pratt produces every day. (Photo: Jamel Toppin for Forbes.)

A Pratt Industries employee walks through a maze of refuse that will soon be turned into some of the 12,000 boxes Pratt produces every day. (Photo: Jamel Toppin for Forbes.)

That decision–made more than a decade ahead of the recent consumer-driven outcry for greener products – unleashed a domino effect of efficiency. Unlike his rivals, who must operate mills close to timber sources and then send the paper to factories near cities, where it’s turned into boxes, Pratt situates operations where they make the most logistical sense: near cities, which are full of waste–and customers–thereby cutting transportation costs.

Zhang Yin “Queen of Trash” as she is fondly called  had formed a company in the 1990s to collect paper for recycling and ship it to China. It was a step up from life in Hong Kong, where she had opened a paper-trading company with $3,800 to cash in on China’s chronic paper shortages.

“I remember what a man in the business told me back then,” Zhang Yin said. “He said, ‘Waste paper is like a forest. Paper recycles itself, generation after generation.'”

Zhang Yin

Zhang Yin

Her companies take heaps of waste paper from the United States and Europe, ship it to China and recycle it into corrugated cardboard, which is then used for boxes that are packed with toys, electronics and furniture that are stamped “Made in China” and then often shipped right back across the ocean to Western consumers.

After the boxes are thrown away, the cycle starts all over again.

Late last year, Forbes magazine named Zhang the wealthiest woman in China. She may even be the richest self-made woman in the world, challenging a handful of others.

That company, Nine Dragons Paper, is now the biggest paper maker in China. It raised nearly $500 million when it went public in Hong Kong last March.

“My goal is to make Nine Dragons, in three to five years, the leader in containerboards,” Zhang said emphatically during a short interview in her Hong Kong office. “My desire has always been to be the leader in an industry.”

She has not lost her ambition, though. Sometimes called the Queen of Trash, she doesn’t disown the title. But, she said, “Someday, I’d like to be known as the queen of containerboards.”

Zhang and Pratt innovations in recycling have not only created income for them but as well created a domino effect across the world with the embrace and awareness of recycling increasing swiftly.





July Editions

Achieving Sustainable Development Goals With The Wecyclers Model


At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, more than 150 world leaders adopted the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, have a more ambitious agenda, seeking to eliminate rather than reduce poverty, and include more demanding targets on health, education and gender equality. They are universal, applying to all countries and all people and aim to end poverty, hunger and inequality, take action on climate change and the environment, improve access to health and education, build strong institutions and partnerships, and more.

With this global transition from millennium development goals to the more effective and broad Sustainable development goals, we highlight how the Wecyclers model works to effectively achieve some of these goals.

Goal 1


Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.

With the Trash to cash model of Wecyclers, subscribers who make up the first and primary chain of the business are able to create value through their recyclable waste by exchanging trash for products that help aid daily living and in turn reducing poverty.


Goal 4


Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.
Education remains a top priority and remains the singular most important tool for sustainable development; this has made us implement the Trash for Education program where we reward subscribers with tuition, educational support and educational materials.



Goal 6


Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Lagos, Nigeria with a population of nearly 20 million people produces about 13,000 metric tons of waste bulk of which is left uncollected including recyclable waste. At Wecyclers we are persistently working to reduce the waste crisis in Lagos, create community and concerted efforts to improve sanitation in line with the Sustainable development Goals.



Goal 8Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

In its 3 years of operations Wecyclers team have been able to service to over 7,000 households and create 52 direct jobs and several others through its network. Some of its workers have gone on to imbibe the entrepreneurship drive and in turn become job creators in other aspects. After collection of recyclable waste, Wecyclers aggregates the materials at the household level to sell to local recycling processors. Wecyclers provides a consistent supply of well-sorted, high quality recyclable materials to processors, thereby alleviating their supply constraints and indirectly creating jobs at that level.


Goal 12


Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Vitally important in the Wecyclers operation is the need to create awareness on the need to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Through its partnerships and constant community based awareness, Wecyclers has also extended this awareness to the early learners (Children) educating them on the need to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.



Goal 17


Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Partnerships build the world over. Through the partnerships we have created with government and businesses we have been able to implement our programmes and as well drive the implementation of the Sustainable development goals by our partners.

July Editions

We Clean Up Surulere November 21st #LetsCleanUpLagos

Clean Up Day baner design

Join us as we clean up and promote recycling in Lagos communities. The cleanup day will be in partnership with Oracle.

Surulere, Lagos.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
9:00 AM ‐ 12:00 PM
July Editions

Green advocate Mrs Chinwe Ohajuruka, shares insights into her vision

By Ajibola Ameerah

Every first Monday in October is World habitat day (UN International day) . To commemorate, we had an interview with Mrs Chinwe Ohajuruka, CEO of Comprehensive Design Services to talk about the affordable green houses she has been able to provide for the people of Rivers State.

Mrs Chinwe Ohajuruka

Mrs Chinwe Ohajuruka

Mrs Chinwe Abulokwe Ohajuruka is a “green” Architect, Project Manager and Sustainability Consultant with over 26  years’ work experience in a variety of international settings. She has been involved with several design projects for collegiate, commercial, residential, institutional and industrial clients. Having designed and managed building projects in Nigeria, the United States and five other countries, she has a diverse background that complements the diverse and international settings she has found herself in. She is the CEO of Comprehensive Design Services,  a firm that is committed to practical sustainable design solutions for Nigeria. The organization started in 2012
Ajibola Ameerah: Congratulations on the 2015 Cartier award for Sub Saharan Africa. How do you feel about the award?

I am very happy, I feel elated and most importantly, I feel Cartier has selected my project because they feel that dignity for Nigerians is important. They have promoted dignity of owning your home of having your own kitchen, bathroom and toilet inside your home where women and girls can be safer with clean water and power.

A: To survive, humans need food, shelter and clothing. Why did you decide to go into building homes and not something else?

Just as you said, food shelter and clothing are fundamental human rights. I am an architect so i have focused on buildings and especially, I have focused on affordable housing because I believe that access to decent affordable housing is a fundamental human right

A.A: It is not common to see builders take renewable energy or going green into consideration as part of their goals when creating structures especially on a large scale in developing countries like Nigeria. What made you think differently?

Because I am a green architect. Green means that I believe in sustainable design, I believe that anything we do should be profitable, should be for the people

A: The population and unemployment rate in the country keeps increasing in geometrical rates, how much of an impact have you made and how many families have benefited from your Passive House Prototypes (PHP) knowing fully well that an unemployed man has limited resources to rent a house; let alone buy one?

Eight families have been transplanted from the slums; the waterside slum in Port-harcourt into our passive house prototypes and we are getting ready to build thirty-two more units next year and sixty-four more units in 2017. We are also working with another state government to build 400 units in the state

A.A: Are you limiting your organization to be a Nigerian affair or going global with it? How do you see this organization in the next 10 years?

I am talking to representatives in 7 other African countries. I am not limiting it to only Nigeria, I am thinking of working around Sub-Saharan Africa

A.A: As any business or social enterprise, limitations and challenges would arise, what are those challenges and how have you been able to overcome them?

Many of the challenges we face have to be solved on a national level. For example, it is difficult to get cheap land in a good area and it is difficult for the people; the off takers of my buildings to get affordable mortgages and so we are working on this. We are working with mortgage and micro finance institutions and we are also talking to the government about making land in good areas available for affordable low cost development

A.A: There are so many people living in slums and poor housing facilities in the country. What do you think the government can do to improve housing conditions of the people?

Many many people have written about what the government needs to do. If you google affordable housing and Nigeria housing deficits, at least 1000 people have written, on the internet, in newspapers, on talk shows, they have advised the government on what needs to be done. So my advice is that the government listens to the people. People have talked about changing the land use tenure system, people have talked about bringing down the price of building materials, people have talked about there being power and water, people have talked about there being affordable mortgages. So many people have said so many things about what needs to be done to fix the housing deficit in the country and the government needs to listen.

A.A: Tell us your vision in 5 words

To be a leading provider of affordable green housing.


AhmeerahThis interview was conducted by Ajibola Ameerah, an intern at Wecyclers. She is a student of the University of Ilorin currently pursuing her Bachelor Degree in Geography and Environmental Management.   


July Editions

How Population Growth Impacts the Environment

By Jordan Ricker

In light of World Population Day (a UN International Day) on July 11, this month Wecyclers looks into how population growth affects the environment. Jordan Ricker of Wecyclers sat down with Dr. Victor Fodeke, an expert on waste management and environmental issues, to discuss how population impacts the environment.

Dr FodekeDr. Victor Fodeke

Dr. Fodeke is a Humphrey Fellow (1988), and an Ashoka Fellow (1997). Dr. Fodeke founded the African Environmental Action Network in Nigeria, which trains recent graduates on community organization and sensitizes them to environmental issues and opportunities for action. In 2008 he was appointed as the Head of the Special Climate Change Unit in the Federal Ministry of Environment in Nigeria, and since 2011 Dr. Fodeke has been a consultant for the African Development Bank as well as an Adviser to the African Union.

Jordan Ricker (JR): How did you first get involved with waste management? 

Dr. Fodeke: My career in the environment started in 1980, but my experience with recycling didn’t emerge until nearly a decade later. I had been working with the Environment Unit in the Ministry of Environment when we had an incident with eco-waste in 1988. We had 4,000 tons of toxic waste brought into Nigeria from Italy. We managed to get the assistance of the U.S. Embassy and one of the expats from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) trained Nigerians to repackage toxic waste and return it back to Italy. From this experience, I went on to learn about waste management in Seattle, Washington. I was there when the first experiments on waste recycling started at the University of Washington in 1988.

JR: Lagos is the biggest city in Nigeria and the biggest city in all of Africa with an estimated population of 18-21 million people. What effects does this massive amount of people have on the environment in Lagos?

Dr. Fodeke: When you think about a population, you have to look at the ecological resources you have. When the population’s demands on its ecosystem are beyond the carrying capacity of that system, there will be a catastrophe. To give an example, during my Master’s research I was looking at the microbial and heavy metal content in the Lagos Lagoon and discovered that the lagoon basically serves as a depot for untreated industrial effluent that is simply dumped there.

This is just part of the huge waste that is generated in Lagos that is an eyesore to all the city’s inhabitants and unless something is done very quickly to address the issue, there will be an ecological catastrophe. One way to do this is to borrow the waste management model of Seattle, in which the city decided to recycle 60% of their waste in five years (and ended up doing it in three).

JR: So in contrast to Lagos, what is the interplay between the population and the environment in smaller cities in Africa, such as Abuja, Nigeria (approx. 2 million) or Dakar, Senegal (approx. 6 million)?

Dr. Fodeke: No matter the population, it’s important to look at the correlation between population rise and what is being produced against the carrying capacity of that specific ecosystem. No matter the type of waste (air pollutants, solid waste, etc.), they all have to take into account the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. I think one of the main problems is the perception of waste. Waste should not been seen as a nuisance, but as a valuable resource. We’re wasting our waste. In countries across the world, like Sweden, the waste generated there is used for electricity. In other places, waste is not treated as something to be discarded, but as something that can be utilized for reducing, reusing, and recycling. Recycling is a cash cow in Canada and the United States that creates thousands of jobs every year. In Nigeria, we need to see waste as a resource to be utilized and understand that waste can bring wealth!

JR: Going back to Lagos, Nigeria, the World Bank estimates that the population of Lagos will grow at a rate of 5.8% per year to 35 million people by 2025. Will Lagos be able to sustain a population bigger than that of Beijing, China, without suffering serious environmental effects?

Dr. Fodeke: Long range planning is the key to addressing pernicious environmental effects. If Lagos state, and Nigeria in general, already have estimates for the population in 2025, then what is left is utilizing that data to create plans and policies that will be able to address the predicted negative environmental effects of population growth. If Lagos State implemented short, medium, and long range planning on the problems of physical infrastructure, handling pollution, food production, etc., they could seriously reduce the number of issues facing the state government. All of these plans can only be put in place with a lot of information from the get-go. However, the problem is that most administrations don’t plan either before or beyond their four years in office. If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.

JR: In the same vein as planning, many people talk about places such as the Nordic countries and Switzerland as being shining examples of environmental policy, waste management, and recycling, often attributed to their excellent foresight of these issues. However, all of these countries have very little or even negative population growth. How does negligible population growth and small population size factor in with a good environmental track record?

Dr. Fodeke: One of the crucial factors in planning is access to data and information. We don’t have the culture of quantitative and qualitative data here in Nigeria. You need to have quality control and data management as the very foundation of your planning and in Nigeria, you cannot rely on that information. Unless there are programs created for data acquisition and management or the establishment of a Bureau of Statistics that can help to generate data for effective implementation, the method of getting these data is not readily or accurately available. The Nordic countries and those like them that have excellent waste management policies in place have a lot of data and they actually use it. For example, they know the birth rates and the death rates of their citizens to a very precise degree. By contrast, those numbers are just general estimates in Nigeria. When you fail to have data at your fingertips then you cannot plan. You are going to head into disaster.

JR: Speaking of data, let me throw some at you. In general trends, while world population growth has decreased from 2% overall in the 1960s to hover around 1.1% in 2015, the world population size itself has drastically increased from approximately 3 billion in 1960 to more than two times that, around 7.3billion in 2015. Considering the sheer amount of people that are now alive, what needs to be done right now to curb environmental degradation? And for Lagos in particular, with a growth rate nearly five times the global average, what needs to be done?

Dr. Fodeke: When I think of best practices, I keep going back to my experiences in Seattle. They made it a state law that 60% of what people living in Seattle generated as waste needed to be recycled within five years. Additionally, state residents had to pay for as much waste as they generated. This example of successful waste management came from recycling being an enforced law that made economic sense. Once people were forced by the government to pay for the amount of waste they were responsible for, they immediately generated less, which saved individuals money and immediately implemented recycling. The city of Seattle can be a microcosm for Lagos, which should be a microcosm for all of Nigeria. The template of Seattle, which redefines waste management as focusing on reducing waste from the source, is applicable no matter a city’s population size and is the best way to effectively address the immense waste problem that the world currently faces.

JR: With the new federal government in Nigeria and state government in Lagos, what are some pieces of advice that you have for President Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on environmental legislation?

Dr. Fodeke: First of all, there needs to be environmental laws in this country. The federal, state, and local government need to work together throughout all levels and ensure the laws are followed-through with impact assessment. Secondly, we must start to see the environment as what has been given to us by our parents and what we will give to our children. The new administration has to create policies backed by legislation that is focused on using the environment and protecting it. The laws created must also be practical and enforceable, not draconian; otherwise they will create more problems than they solve. Furthermore, it pays to go green these days – it creates jobs and saves money in both the short and long run. Lastly, from an ethical perspective, people don’t deserve this environment. Human beings deserve to live in an environment that is beneficial to their health, not detrimental to it. The job of the government is to work for the good of the people and one of the basic conditions of that public good is guaranteeing a healthy and clean environment for citizens.

JR: Now let’s look to the future. In examining countries with rising population growth that will be major political and economic powerhouses in the next generation, such as Nigeria, Brazil, and India, what do you suggest these countries do in planning for the environment’s future with the knowledge that their already vast populations will be increasing at such dramatic rates?

Dr. Fodeke: I think one of the key players in planning good environmental policy is the type of government a state has. Democracy is very good in terms of being proactive in enforcing policies. While some of these countries with very large populations are democratic, others are not. In democratic countries, you tend to see more of an environmental bent in discussions of population management. However, a noticeable exception of environmentally conscious policy coming from a democratic country is China. The pollution in China is not so good but China is currently working to correct that. That’s what happens when economic policies are put in place to consider the environment. In the end, it’s about the choices that people make every day about what kind of environment they want to live in and how their choices align or disjoin with that goal.

JR: Do you have any last comments you would like to share?

Dr. Fodeke: What I want to see more than anything else is an international workshop on waste management that look at strategies for Nigeria and discusses how to tackle this problem head-on. I hope this international workshop comes from the National Assembly and the relevant ministries working together to make this happen. Nigeria is a ticking time bomb of eco-catastrophe, but if we address the problem now, we can prevent that catastrophe from ever occurring.

Jordan Ricker

This interview with Dr. Victor Fodeke was conducted by Jordan Ricker, a summer intern with Wecyclers. Jordan is a U.S. American who is currently pursing his undergraduate degree at Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland. He is passionate about both the field of social entrepreneurship and environmental conscientiousness and has found the perfect mesh of the two at Wecyclers.
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July Editions

Are Dry Cleaning Bags Recyclable?

By Ebube Okechukwu

Over the past couple of weeks, we have shared information on several recyclable materials that are not commonly known via our social media platforms. Another material that falls in this category is plastic dry cleaning bags.

Drycleaning BagRecyclable dry cleaning bags in a row

Every time you go to the dry cleaners, your clothes come back to you wrapped in a huge swath of plastic. And, if you are a dedicated recycler or environmentalist, that probably bothers you a little. What are you supposed to do with that plastic sheet once your clothes arrive home?

There’s good news! Most plastic dry cleaning bags are recyclable. Now that you have some basic knowledge of these plastic clothes coverings, let’s look at some more detailed information about these bags.

What are dry cleaning bags made of?
Dry cleaning bags are made with low-density polyethylene, commonly abbreviated as LDPE. This particular type of thin, clear plastic is known as “film” to those in the know in the recycling industry.

RecyclableLDPERecyclable LDPE

Low-density polyethylene (or LDPE) is used for many other types of film, including plastic shopping bags and trash bags.

Why should I recycle dry cleaning bags?
Dry cleaning bags, like anything else made from plastic, are not biodegradable. That means they will sit in landfills – forever. With the ever-increasing demand for dry cleaning around the world, even these small bags add up to be detrimental to Mother Earth.

There are many other reasons to keep dry cleaning bags out of your garbage can. Plastic is a petroleum-based product so recycling dry cleaning bags actually reduces petroleum use. The bags also contain numerous toxic chemicals, including dioxins, which are released into the air if the plastic is incinerated.

Additionally, dry cleaning bags and other types of film plastic are a real nuisance in the waste stream. The wind catches them easily, so they have a tendency to escape trashcans or piles and create litter on highways and in transfer stations. Film plastic can get caught in recycling machinery, which damages equipment and stalls operations at recycling centers. If that plastic finds its way into the ocean, marine life and birds can eat it, mistaking the bag for food, or get tangled in the folds of the plastic. Finding ways to responsibly recycle the film is beneficial for both the environment and recycling companies.

Recycled dry cleaning bags can be found in furniture, tiles, garbage bags, trashcans, and much more. Recycling plastics uses substantially less energy and produces far fewer environmental toxins then creating new plastic altogether, so it is important to spread the word that dry cleaning bags and other plastic films can be recycled.

As a last reminder, remember that before placing dry-cleaning bags in any type of recycling bin, make sure you have removed all other potential contaminants, including hangers and receipts. Happy recycling!

Culled from:

Bennett, Sophia. “How to Recycle Dry-Cleaning Bags.” Recycle Nation. November 18, 2014. Accessed July 27, 2015.

Giller, Chip, and Catharine Wroth. “7 items you didn’t know you could recycle.” November 6, 2007. Accessed July 28, 2015.

Iggyaa, “How to Recycle Plastic Bags, Dry Cleaning Bags, Shrink Wrap.” December 27, 2011. Accessed July 28, 2015.