Founded by Bilikiss Adebiyi, Jonathan Kola and Oluwatobi Aworinde, Nigeria’s Wecyclers wants communities to clean their environment by recycling matter and earning from it. Wecyclers gives incentives to those who recycle waste in their communities.
Wecyclers receive used plastic bags and bottles, aluminum cans and just any waste and give out redeemable points to collectors as an incentive. The startup believes the incentives will encourage the low-income communities in Africa and other developing countries to have a reason to clean up their neighborhoods.
When you collect and recycle one kilogram of matter, they give you redeemable points over your mobile phone in return. These points can be redeemed for food items, airtime, appliances and electronics. The team sends updates and reminders to participating recyclers mobile phones and they then send the materials to local recycling processors in the city.
The team uses low-cost cargo bicycles for convenient household recycling services and their SMS-based incentive program. They sell the collected matter to local recycling processors and help ensure a consistent supply recyclable materials.
According to Wecyclers, Lagos faces a waste crisis which is worsening with the continuing increase in the population, now estimated to be over 20 million. Wecyclers say the municipal government only collects 40 percent of the city’s garbage, leaving the rest to pile up and be a health hazard. Just a mere 13 percent of recyclable materials are salvaged from landfills.
This uncollected piles later become breeding grounds for diseases to people living in slums especially after floods. Ironically, recycling plants in the city face a supply constraint and operate at just 50 percent capacity or less. The team therefore believes it might help end this menace.