Another waste entrepreneur is Bilikiss-Adebiyi Abiola, co-founder, Wecyclers, which go from door to door to collect waste. The firm’s workers also collect waste from markets. They bring them to the shed to sort.
This done, the waste are prepared for sale to recyclers. For every kilogramme of material that families recycle, they receive redeemable wecyclers points over their cell phones. These points are then redeemed for goods, such as cell phone minutes, basic food items, and household goods. Families receive collection reminders and rewards updates directly on their mobile phones making the benefits of recycling immediate.
The company aggregates the materials into different level of well-sorted, high quality recyclable material to processors alleviating their supply constraints.
Since its launch, the company has collected more than 200 tonnes of waste from more than 5,000 households.
As they’re recycling, they see the other benefits, from the cleanliness, the reduction of flooding, reduction in diseases.
Wecyclers employs about 100 people and plans to increase its reach across Lagos.
She said her company can create 500,000 jobs. This is because it engages tailors that sow the bags, painters, carpenters, graphic designers and people that support at the hub. They are also machinists, drivers and cleaners.
WeCyclers is becoming a household name in waste collection and recycling. The company has generated over $20,000 in revenue and owns 15 wecycles.
WeCyclers partners the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and aims to educate and equip people about the need for better waste management.
Mrs. Abiola is the one-woman dynamo taking the waste business world by storm. Her life started in what seemed to be an ideal situation. She holds a B.Sc in Computer Science from Fisk University and an MSc in computer Science from Vanderbilt University in the United States.
After graduation, Mrs Abiola worked with the IBM Corporation in the US on a social media platform for the Enterprise. While there, she had the inspiration to form a waste management company. She felt Nigeria needed a lot of support with waste management and recognised there were a lot of opportunities within the sector to be explored.
An MBA graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management, United States, she moved back home to set up WeCyclers. On her return to Lagos, she confronted a city with a major waste management crisis, producing 10,000 tonnes of refuse daily, much of which clog the city streets and leaches chemicals into the soil and groundwater. To solve the problem, she launched the social enterprise, Wecyclers, to incentise low-income households to hand off their recyclable goods to a fleet of low-cost cargo bikes.
The company uses a fleet of custom made low-cost cargo bicycles to offer convenient household recycling service in densely populated low-income neighborhoods. A fleet of specially outfitted cargo bicycles pedals through the dense neighbourhoods to pick up the recycling on a regular schedule.
Families are motivated to recycle plastic bottles, plastic sachets, and aluminum cans through its innovative SMS-based incentive programme. She doesn’t do this alone as she has access to other women.
Mrs Abiola is also working with other waste and recycling industry safety professionals on developing positive safety cultures.