Nigerian Initiative Wecyclers Wins 2014 Sustainia Award

sustainia_1Scandinavian think tank Sustainia, with a mission of identifying and supporting innovative and sustainable environment-friendly solutions from around the world, has awarded its top prize for 2014 to Nigerian company Wecyclers.

Lagos, with a population of more than 18 million people, generates a massive 10,000 metric tons of waste daily, of which only 40% of it is believed to be formally collected, leaving large quantities of rubbish lying in gutters and on the streets. Wecyclers, started by Nigerian entrepreneur Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, offers a model solution to managing this problem.

Using a fleet of low-cost cargo bicycles, Wecyclers collects the waste from local people and then sells it on to recycling factories. Households that subscribe to Wecyclers have waste collected once a week, and the service is free. As an added incentive, Wecyclers lets families exchange garbage for consumer goods via an SMS-based point system.

The Sustainia Award Ceremony in Denmark showcased nine other leading innovations from seven countries.