Waste management infrastructure has been an important area of concern for developing countries, often getting caught up in a crisis of management. These countries lack infrastructure to adequately tackle waste collection from the source; waste segregation for disposal; and recycling. A recycling service in Nigeria is showing how it can be done.
Improper waste handling is not limited to a small area and can end up becoming a source of disease due to unsanitary living conditions from unattended waste in a neighbourhood.
Wecyclers, started in Lagos, Nigeria is a household recycling service which attracts its customer base via a SMS-based reward program, providing points to customers for every kilogram of waste recycled. The points collected can be redeemed for household amenities, food items or even mobile phone recharges thus providing direct value to people for the waste being recycled. The team targets cycles from door to door to collect waste, primarily targeting densely-populated neighbourhoods.
According to the Wecyclers website, only about 40 percent of waste is collected from households. Of the trash that ends up in landfill, only about 13 percent is recycled. Wecyclers has been able to deal with the poorly-managed waste and also has provided a source of income to its team members.
With numerous cyclists hitting the road as part of its Lagos unit, Wecyclers is now capable of connecting households to recycling firms. So far, more than 5000 households have already signed in under its network and have been able to efficiently tackle urban waste in the neighborhoods of these households.