The challenges for the recycling industry stem from various upstream and downstream players in the recycling value chain, waste system stages and enabling environment.
Nigeria, far from being a circular economy, faces many social, environmental, and economic problems. There is a growing need for proper and efficient waste management in Nigeria by collaborative efforts due to the fast growing pace of urbanization. Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, which is undergoing a fast growing pace of urbanization, is struggling to adequately meet its waste management needs. This is partially due to the rapid increase in production and use of packaged goods. Unfortunately, Nigeria has not fully and consciously tapped into the recycling sector despite its enormous advantages and opportunities in terms of sanitation, environmental protection and job creation. There is therefore a critical need to effectively and collaboratively manage the rapid rise in the use of plastics and other recyclables and their subsequent turn into waste or environmental pollutants.
Based on 2016 information from the Association of Solid Waste Contactors, Abuja Chapter, approximately 80-100 trips of 15 tons/truck of waste collected in Abuja daily (~1500 tons/waste collected daily) is deposited at the Ghosa Land fill in Idu, Abuja. This represents approximately 20 percent of the waste that gets cleared, which is attributed to lack of machinery, and personnel relatively against the volume of waste generated daily. To this end, street corners, road junctions, and sundry places within the Federal Capital Territory have become refuse dumps, which constitute environmental hazard to the people. Many of these waste are again picked up by children to play with, while the bulk end up in drains and gutters blocking the drainage networks and contributing to flooding and stagnation of rain water.
The effect of not properly managing this waste or resorting to landfills or combustion (burning) leads to:
• The release of harmful and toxic gases like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other Green House gases (GHG) into the atmosphere
• Clogging of our drainages and water ways which may lead to devastating effects of flooding and water stagnation breeding microorganism and disease causing pathogens.
• They constitute environmental pollutant and nuisance making our environment less beautiful, hygienic and safe.
The major victims of the above stated effects are the residents and as we know our human resources constitute the greatest asset any organization or body could have.
Intro of Chanja Datti/profile, impact
Our organization, Chanja Datti is Abuja’s first recyclable waste recovery and recycling social enterprise. Established in 2015, Chanja Datti is a socially operated business, with many ties to the communities in Abuja and the surrounding areas. Not only are we focused on collecting and converting waste into commercially viable products through recycling, but also empowering women and at-risk youths at the bottom of the economic pyramid through our micro entrepreneurship program. We have branches in Ondo state and about to open another branch in Lagos. Please see more about us at www.chanjadatti.com.
Our social enterprise has been in existence for 4+ years and has been directly responsible for diverting 3,500,000 kg of recyclable waste from landfills in the Abuja metropolis. We have been able to do this by creating 180 green jobs. We have also established our Cash4Trash initiative to provide additional sources of livelihood for 100+ women in 4 underserved communities in the Abuja metropolis, and also recently launched our Bottles for Books initiative, where we monetize recyclable waste for children to pay for their school fees. We currently have 100 children in the pilot project.
Presently, we have successfully secured portfolios to manage the recyclables of some of the largest commercial, diplomatic, governmental and educational institutions in Nigeria, this we achieved through sheer determination, hard work and passion for a healthy and sustainable environment. Some of our prominent clients include: Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, Embassy of Switzerland, British High Commission, Embassy of the United States of America, Nestle PLC, Elim Water, GIZ Program Offices in Abuja, Union Bank, Jaiz Bank, and the list continues.
Challenges in Recycling
1. Credit Facility: Pursuing financing facilities through open sources has been largely tedious. Access to sufficient credit facilities has been quite difficult due to stringent application process or lack of requisite collateral.
2. Inadequate Machinery: Our production rate does not meet supply demands from our customers who are already appreciating the values of waste sorting for recycling on the part of consumers, and on the part of producers, the use of recycled raw materials against the use of virgin ones which have adverse impact on the environment and negates global drive for resource conservation. This poor production rate is largely due to the obsolete machines we presently deplore for recycling.
3. Power Supply: The lack of a steady source of constant power supply is a big challenge. Any recycling company with equipment will be hampered and not able to meet their production targets. Our current plans of doubling our prior year production for example, was not achievable because of the very erratic power supply which therefore makes it difficult to have steady production or recycling process. It also hampers planning as production figures are difficult to factor into our recurrent expenditure or fit into our overall financial projection.
4. Poor Waste Management Culture: It is also imperative to state that to achieve meaningful progress in the global drive towards waste resource management for the promotion of a circular economy, climate change mitigation or the intent of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Nigeria proposed to the Paris Agreement, government must opt its intervention in ensuring that a responsible culture is built amongst it citizenry towards waste management, particularly, sorting and segregation of wastes for recycling
Opportunities in the sector
There is need for counteractive action based on these challenges through capacity building, regulatory and policy implementation, awareness creation, investment in infrastructure and technology, global partnership, private–public partnership, fiscal policy support, and sector formalization. Thus, the solutions call for a multi-faceted and all stakeholder-inclusive approach.
As an entrepreneur, I always like to highlight areas within the waste management value chain that any aspiring entrepreneur can take advantage of.
I have listed some of them below.
>Advocacy: Sensitization and Awareness
>Equipment Manufacturers and Distributors
>Training and Consultancy
>Material Recovery Facilities
>Waste to Power
In conclusion, recycling is one strategy for end-of-life waste management of recyclable products. Promotion of circular economy (from linear economy) makes increasing sense socially, economically and environmentally.