By Ayo Fadimu
Nestlé has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wecyclers, a social enterprise that helps households in low-income communities capture value from their waste, to accelerate the process of recovering and recycling post-consumption plastic packaging wastein Lagos State. The agreement enables Wecyclers to extend plastics waste recovery systems to more communities through the establishment of collection points across 5 more communities. The project will also help to create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters, and empower an additional 15,000 Wecylcer subscribers
“In line with the belief that producers and consumers need to change behavior and habits to manage the menace, we are taking actions with other industry members of FBRA and are also engaging our people, our consumers and business partners to play their part in tackling the plastics problem. At Nestlé, we are passionate about protecting the environment where we work and take action to protect and improve it.”
Mr Olawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers said “this partnership is an avenue to extend the plastics collection and recycling process by setting up more collection sites across Lagos. We are indeed pleased to partner with Nestlé to achieve our objectives of helping to create a plastics recycling ecosystem in Nigeria. We are also happy that in addition to tackling the plastics menace, the project will also help to create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters, while empowering an additional 15,000 Wecyclers subscribers.”
The Recycling exchange programme since its inception in 2018, has diverted over 400tonnes of plastics from the landfills into productive reuse. Wecyclers will handle the construction and deployment of each recycling kiosk, with coverage areas including Ajah, Ikeja, Mushin, Lagos Island and Magodo.
There is growing concern around the quantity of plastic waste entering the natural environment, harming wildlife and damaging ecosystems globally. It is estimated that 70% of all ocean litter is plastic. The environmental impact is so enormous that the United Nations (UN) has described it as a planetary crisis that is causing irreparable damage. In Nigeria, we see the problem growing all around us. Due to the increasing usage and indiscriminate disposal of single use plastics, we are witnessing a surge in plastic waste pollution. Nigeria generates more than 32 million metric tonnes of waste annually with Lagos alone producing about 10,000 metric tonnes of waste daily, most of which end up in landfills and in waterways, exacerbating health challenges and environmental hazards. Tackling this plastics situation is an urgent priority which requires multi-sector collaboration.
Nestlé, is committed to working together with governments, NGOs and the other private sector and industry stakeholders to develop a circular plastic economy, where plastic is collected, recycled and reused efficiently. The company is a founding member of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) whose mission is to build a self-sustaining recycling economy around post-consumer packaging waste in order to stimulate employment, wealth creation and innovation.
Speaking at the signing, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria said, “One of our ambitions at Nestlé is to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations as we strive towards a waste free future. A key part of achieving this goal is to make 100% of our packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025. Another important element is our vision that none of our product packaging, including plastics, should end up in landfills or as litter in our environment, in our seas, oceans and waterways.Tackling plastic pollution is an urgent priority which requires multisector collaboration,so this MOU with Wecyclers is another step towards achieving our shared objectives of a waste-free future and building thriving communities.”