NIGERIA – Unilever Nigeria, a subsidiary of consumer goods company Unilever, has teamed up with Bridges Outcomes Partnerships and social enterprise Wecyclers to manage plastic waste in Nigeria.

The partnership has been established through a “Development Impact Bond” structured by the French investment bank Societe Generale.

Under this partnership, the joint project TRANSFORM, which received pooled funding from Unilever, the UK government and EY, will collectively raise funds to help Wecyclers expand its franchise and collection model across the country.

Unilever Nigeria managing director Carl Cruz said: “This funding is a major step forward for us in our work to ensure plastics waste stays out [of] the Nigerian environment.

“There’s wealth to be made from creating jobs tackling plastics waste, it cleans up the Nigerian environment and it develops a more sustainable financing model for groups like Wecyclers.”

The partnership will see Wecyclers collect more than 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste over the next five years.

In addition, it will also create more than 700 jobs within recycling franchises across Nigeria and improve the wages of waste sorters.

All the partners involved hope this experience in Nigeria will inspire the further development and use of such Bonds globally to finance organizations tackling similar challenges.

Wecyclers managing director Wale Adebiyi added: “We started with one bicycle and a dream, and through hard work and entrepreneurship we have built a scalable model that, thanks to this Development Impact Bond, will create hundreds of jobs, and improve the income of thousands of sorters, who will earn 25% more than they do today.”

Unilever Nigeria and Wecyclers have been working together since 2014 as part of Unilever’s ‘waste to wealth’ campaign, which helps local organizations work out how to create value and jobs from the reduction, collection, recycling, and reusing of plastic waste.

LAWMA invests in trucks to improve sanitation

Elsewhere, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has handed over several trucks to the municipal authorities to strengthen the sanitation system.

The initiative will facilitate solid waste collection operations, especially in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, Banana Island, and Badagry Beach.

These areas are at the forefront of the floods that occur throughout the year in Lagos causing bridges to collapse, destroying homes and fields, and displacing people.

The new trucks will facilitate the evacuation of household waste, which often ends up in the gutters before blocking the drainage of rainwater.

The Lagos State government wants to draw inspiration from the “Cycle Plast Project” jointly implemented by the American soft drink multinational Coca-Cola and the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC).

This recycling program aims to rid the West African country of 8,910 tonnes of plastic waste (water and yoghurt bags, edible oil and detergent bottles, etc.) each year in the states of Kano, Adamawa, Abia, Kwara, Edo, as well as the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

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