New Telegraph

Economic potential of waste-to-wealth management

Investing in waste management has, over the years, proven to be a hidden source of wealth. “If you can recycle it, why waste it?” This mantra has become the driving force that has moved many from idleness to waste entrepreneurs (wastepreneurs).

“Wastepreneurs” are providing an answer to this by taking waste straight from the dump, transforming it, and redefining its purpose. These innovators work with different materials – water sachets, scrap metal, bottles, plastic, tyres and more – with many of them learning on the job, how to manipulate these objects, to make “beauty out of ashes.” Benefit People are beginning to make fortune from waste recycling while pursuing the United Nations (UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, which includes targets on reducing pollution and health impacts through environmentally sound management (ESM) of all waste throughout the product life cycle; promoting waste prevention, reduction, and recycling and reuse.

Addressing guests recently, the Chief Operating Officer, Wecyclers, Oluwayemisi Lawal, said: “At Wecyclers, we believe that waste is not a problem, but an opportunity. “Our partnership with Sahara Foundation and LSETF has enabled us to take this opportunity and turn it into a sustainable business model.

“The Go-recycling project will help us to reach and empower more individuals to take action towards a cleaner Lagos, and we believe that it will inspire others to join us in our mission to build a better world for generations to come.” She explained how the project works, saying “waste is not to be seen as something to be thrown away. It is an opportunity to create business and an opportunity to clean our environment. “We expect people to bring their waste and Exchange it for cash incentives. We have done this in over 23 communities all across nation and people have benefited from this initiative. They have used fund generated from this initiative to do capital things for themselves including paying school fees, sorting house rent, and improving their businesses. So we are asking everyone, if you have pet bottles, LDPE, Cartons, paper, ensure you recycle it.”

Recycling project The Go-recycling project roll- out is set to positively influence the recycling narrative in Lagos, with all 12 hubs set to be launched before the end of the year. To make the waste to wealth initiative more accessible for all, the Sahara Group Foundation, the corporate sustainability vehicle for Sahara Group, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), an agency under the Lagos State Government for job and wealth creation, and Wecyclers, a recycling social enterprise, early this month launched the first of its 12 recycling hubs (under the partnership) to be rolled-out across several Lagos state local government areas.

The hubs, the first of which was launched in Lagos, aim to promote a sustainable environment, create jobs, and empower the people to adopt recycling as an effective waste management practice with some financial re- ward, with the potential to sup- port a movement of environmen- tally consciousness. Ejiro Gray, Director, Sustain- ability and Governance, Sahara Group, said: “We have brought to life a sustainable initiative ca- pable of spurring a favourable and widespread behavioural change where Lagosians will reimagine their waste management practices and adopt recycling.

“At Sahara Foundation our focus area based on two areas and one of them is improving ac- cess to Energy and the second is promoting sustainable environment. This is very key to us of the region in which we operate. We started off in Africa and spread our tentacles across the globe. “Also for the fact that we primarily in the energy industry, and to SSDG 17 which speaks to partnering the Goals is also very important to us. In this case we are partnering with Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and Wecyclers.

“Wecyclers they are social entrepreneurs that are focused on recycling as a means of promoting sustainable environment. The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund is focused on addressing the Employment gap in Lagos state, and for promoting job creation and employment.”

She said: “ The project, which started in Lagos, will move to other states and Africa at large. This particular project seats at the intersection of economic empowerment and improving waste management practices.”

Gray further stated that the project would contribute to the development of a circular economy and reduce the amount of waste generated in the city significantly. Gray concluded by urging the people to take advantage of the Go-Re- cycling project and help transform their lives and communities positively by making a commitment to promote a cleaner, healthier, and thriving community for today and future generations.

Empowerment Executive Secretary, LSETF, Teju Abisoye, said: “Through this initiative, we hope to empower the residents by providing them with an opportunity to earn while also contributing to a greener future. “We believe that this recycling hub will not only benefit individuals but also have a positive impact on the community as a whole.

It’s about time we as a country take THURSDAY, april 20, 2023 NEW TELEGRAPH the issue of climate change seriously. Now for every waste, fir every pet bottles or sachets water nylon, you get paid. That is job creation. “We are excited to partner with Sahara Foundation and Wecyclers, organisations that are lead- ing the way in building a sustainable future.

This is creating job, all you need do is to look around pick up papers, nylons, steel, Cartons for them to recycle and get paid” she said. Sahara Group Foundation, the corporate sustainability vehicle for leading energy and infra- structure conglomerate, Sahara Group, is committed to building sustainable societies by helping to improve access to energy and promote sustainable environments through strategic investments, programs, and partnerships that support widespread development across operating countries.

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) was established by The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law 2016 to provide financial support to residents of Lagos State for jobs, wealth creation, and tackling unemployment. LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of MSMEs, and formulating policies designed to improve the business environment in Lagos State. Last line From all indications, the new approach to waste management espoused by the groups is opening a new chapter of opportunities for more idle youths to explore.

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