Chaired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nigerian initiative – Wecyclers recently won the 2014 Sustainia Award. The solution enables low-income communities to make money from waste piling up in their streets. By deploying a fleet of cargo bicycles to collect and recycle un-managed waste, Wecyclers lets families exchange garbage for consumer goods via an SMS-based point system.
Wecyclers is a response to local waste issues in Lagos, where only 40 percent of the city’s garbage is collected. The World Bank also estimates that only 10 percent of waste in Africa is collected. More than 5,000 households have signed up so far and there are plans to extend the initiative to other cities throughout Nigeria. Recycling companies purchase Wecyclers’ sorted waste for reprocessing for products such as mattresses, pillows, and trash bags.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and chair of Sustainia Award said, “I am very inspired by this year’s Sustainia Award winner, Wecyclers. They show us that communities can create local solutions to waste and recycling issues, which are not only more sustainable but also improve public health and create new jobs. By coming together and acting in new ways, we can create positive and sustainable change in our communities and inspire cities around the world to do the same.”