When the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched the Blue Bin Initiative on the 5th of September 2019, many were optimistic of the impact it would have on the environment but almost one year down the line, while Lagos state has become significantly cleaner than what it was before this administration took over, a lot of mileage still needs to be covered in the area of recycling.
The Managing Director of the Lagos State Waste Management Agency, LAWMA, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni on Thursday met with the representatives from LAWMA registered recycling company under the umbrella of Recycling Association of Nigeria to intimidate them on the steps the agency has taken to ensure their operations are more effective and sustainable.
Addressing the Recycling operators, Odumboni noted that while there are over 250 LAWMA licensed recycling companies in Lagos, only about twenty of them is operational, as most of them lack the financial capability to continue to run the business.
In order to address this financial challenge, Odumboni said LAWMA on the approval of Gov. Sanwo-olu has secured the financial backing of Heritage bank as the official bank for Recyclers and for the next two years, Heritage bank will focus all of their Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, on Lagos Recycle.
Also a committee with LAWMA has been set up to map out a plan to cater for old and incoming licensed recycling company.
Based on this arrangement, recycling companies registered with LAWMA will now be able to access funds through Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, to do whatever they need to do to.
Heritage bank will support recycling companies with CSR, like helping to buy Bailers, Washers, and Crushers or give one digit collateral free loans for operations.
Heritage bank will support all LAWMA registered recycling companies and the informal sector is not left out, as Heritage Bank is expected to assist the informal recyclers to become licenced operators. Also training will be organised for recyclers so they can properly understand the business and drive it to success.
According to statistics, Lagos state accounts for 70% of all plastic waste generated in Nigeria. Annually, an average of 176 plastic bottles is reported to be generated by an individual, this means that for a population of about 24 million people, about 4 billion plastic waste are generated annually and about 40 billion waste already generated in the last ten years in Lagos state.
Therefore, if Lagos must see a fast decline in both historic waste and newly generated waste, Odumboni said there must be a significant increase in penetration by recycling operators. He encouraged the recyclers to sort out innovative ways to drive increase in penetration.
Nevertheless, he said Lagos state has concluded plans to introduce a Reward System that will ensure that pickers are rewarded adequately. This he believes will encourage more pickers to come on ground.
Odumboni said that with the introduction of more pickers into the field, the recyclers will have no need to go on ground picking plastics and other recyclables by themselves and this in turn will cut down on their operational cost.
“At the moment you beg people to give you plastic waste but with the introduction of financial backing people know when they bring plastic waste to you, they will get financial reward. So we are creating a value chain for you that will attract pickers and this is all about the reward scheme,” Odumboni said.
He encouraged the recycling companies to work together as a team and speak with one voice as that is the only way they will get the support of stakeholders in the state who are more than willing to support on their activities.
The meeting was an interactive one and as such operators were given the opportunity to speak up on some issues, give recommendations and brainstorm on the way forward. Amongst the issues raised were that of police harassment. They called on LAWMA to find a lasting solution as most of their staffs are constantly been intimidated by security operatives.
Odumboni disclosed that Heritage bank will provide branded uniforms for all recycling operators for easy identification by security agencies to stop any further harassment. Also, all recycling companies just like PSP will have a uniform colour and logo for easy identification on their trucks and buses.
He advised that all staff of the different operators should have identification cards that is common and uniform to all.
Odumboni assured the recyclers that he will stop at nothing until he completely outlaw and eradicate cart pushers and other informal operators that are sabotaging the business from the way to allow off-takers direct access to the registered operators which will in turn increase their bargaining power.
“If you look at Mile 2 all the way to Badagry, what you have there is informal sector and they do not want to comply with LAWMA directive. But don’t worry, we will make them come to you. We will not formalize cart pushers, Our ongoing reform in the recycling market space will make them come to you and we will continue to push until we have more off-takers coming to you,” Odumboni said.
Present at the meeting were representatives from the following Registered Recycling Companies;
- LasGidis Recyclers
- EcoViridis Environmental Technology Ltd.
- African Cleanup Initiative
- THERMAL Initiative
- Street Waste Company Limited
- Chanja Datti Ltd
- Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC )
- Greenhill Recycling
- Scrap Empire
- ECOPLASTIC AND ALUMINUM RECYCLE SERVICE
- PolyBriq Technologies
- Chronos Pride International
- Daniel Olubi
- Negand Integrated Services Ltd
- HISL RECYCLERS ENTERPRISES
- PLASTIC SOLUTIONS.NG