Before you Trash it, Think Recycle!

A young woman showing the importance of recycling and why we all need to actively recycle.

In Nigeria, being able to recycle is still a relatively new practice, and not a lot of people are in on it yet. Did you know that in almost 50% of the areas in Nigeria’s urban cities, managing the municipal waste generated is a tough nut to crack?  

So, Ecobarter is saying, before trashing it, think recycling!

Controlled open dumping is the official method of managing municipal wastes in Nigeria currently, with government dumps in secured areas in major states. Examples are Oloshun dumpsite in Lagos and Gosa dumpsite in Abuja. Waste generated around the cities is expected to be evacuated from houses and business complexes by state-owned or licensed private trucks and disposed of at these designated dumpsites. However, less than 50% of households have access to these waste management methods and services.

Here’s why we think you should be recycling…

An average household of four, generates about 8kg/capita/week, leaving over 30 million tonnes of municipal solid wastes across the country annually. Without access to formal waste management methods, most communities result in indiscriminate waste management methods- open dumping on street corners, along drainage ways, or blatantly burning wastes within their households.

These indiscriminate practices have negative impacts on public health, the environment, and communal wealth.

As urbanization deepens and the population grows, the world is experiencing a constraint on natural resources and lesser land is available for even the most engineered landfills.

To respond to these constraints, resource and waste management practices are evolving, communities are adopting a more circular approach to consumption and production to phase out the waste idea and make more resources available for reuse.

In reality, 30-40% of municipal waste generated can be easily recycled into new products – Plastics, Beverage cans, Paper, Cartons, Glass, and Metals. Food or organic wastes make up 50% and these can be composted or utilized to generate biogas.

However, the volume of solid waste getting to the overburdened dumpsites continues to increase at rates faster than Government can manage or assign new sites. Where recycling rates are reaching 30-60% in developed countries, Nigeria recycles less than 15% of the over 30 million tonnes of municipal waste.

Recycling has the potential to reduce waste needed to be disposed of by over 30% and improve local manufacturing. To recycle is to reduce waste and environmental degradation while also contributing to boosting the economy and providing jobs.

While we can easily attribute the low recycling in Nigeria to a mix of; low awareness levels of the impact of indiscriminate practices on the economy, public health, food security, and environment; lack of easily accessible recycling infrastructure, and lack of policy to mandate recycling, the lack of knowledge of which materials to recycle and which to trash is a prominent issue that Ecobarter has identified, which everyone has the power to address.

To learn about the different types of wastes generated within your household, those that legitimately belong in the trash, those that should be repurposed, and those that should go into recycling bins, Ecobarter curated a household recycling dictionary.

Before trashing your waste, think about recycling.

Wondering how to get started? Join ecobarter’s recycling community today!

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