RecyclePoints

RecyclePoints: A waste recycling & social benefit scheme that creates value from everyday waste

Oshodi Lagos, NigeriaLagos Metropolis, Nigeria
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

RecyclePoints is a waste recycling and social benefit venture that operates an incentive-based scheme which collects recyclable materials from post consumers and in turn rewards them with “Points” which they can accumulate and use to redeem valuable household items offered through our iRecycle store

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we use a points earning system to harvest recyclable waste materials directly from post-consumers thereby ending indiscriminate waste littering that clogs our drainage systems leading to flooding?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

It is a common sight to see our streets, drainage, roadsides and even dumpsites littered with recyclable packaging materials which are carelessly disposed of by post-consumers. This practice often poses environmental & health hazards to communities as they experience flood due to the blockage of water drainage by most of these recyclables which has become the fastest growing packaging option in our beverage and food manufacturing sectors.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The most challenging concern for recycling is sustaining an effective buyback system for clean recyclables and an efficient supply-chain system for collection. Our solution is an incentive based collection scheme that allocates Points to the quantity of recyclable items neatly collected at the point of disposal by post-consumers, who in turn use the earned Points to redeem numerous identified household items and services offered as incentives. Recyclers get an SMS alert notification each time they recycle, to inform on the number of "Points" gained. Thereafter, the Points gained could be traded in exchange for numerous items each tagged with a certain number of Points needed to redeem them. E.g., with 100,000 Points one can redeem a laptop.

Awards

BEST WASTE AND RECYCLING INNOVATION AWARD at the 2015 Waste & Recycling Awards in Nigeria
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The conventional recycling system involves on the spot sale of recyclable items to scavengers at nominal & fluctuating values which do not motivate frequent collection. Scavenging in itself is a herculean and unsustainable task as the scavengers need to haul materials on their backs over long distances. Our scheme addresses the need to continuous deposit recyclable materials to earn points on the quantity of materials deposited. These Points are used to redeem valuable items & thus the recycler is motivated to continue collecting. Also the Electric Cargo Tricycles that our WasteBusters use for door-to-door collection, allows us to haul large volumes of materials to our Collection & Sorting Hubs, where they are processed into Bales & sold.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Since inception, we have been able to engage over 3,500 households and 10 corporate entities to enroll with the recycling scheme. Out of the 13,000 Metric Tons of Municipal Solid Waste generated daily in Lagos, we process 30 Metric Tons of recyclables monthly through Collection and Sorting Hubs called CoSoHUBs. One inception we stated with just 4 workers and today our workforce has grown to 30 persons who are all engaged in the recycling operations. We look forward to increase our recycling subscriber base by 40% each year. We also prospect to increase our annual processed recyclables by 50% each year. With our current project, we would be adding an average of 30 workers to our workforce each year.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

When fully implemented and scaled into various geographical locations in our country of origin, our scheme would be diverting from landfills an average of 10,000 Metric tons of recyclable waste annually. We intend to setup Recycling Kiosks at strategic positions in the various cities we operate, to act as drop-off centers for recyclable materials and offer unique environmental enlightenment lounge for senior citizens. These manned Recycling Kiosks will promote accessibility and increase recycling rates.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our business model is skewed to ensure we generate enough revenue to sustain our operational & administrative processes. We sell our processed bales of recyclables to recycling plants at a marked up profit margin. Our Electric Tricycles offer a unique Mobile Advertising feature which we have commercially explored to generate revenue that supports the remuneration of the WasteBusters that ride the Tricycles. We earmark 40% of profit for expansion.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have numerous informal collectors of recyclable materials who still operate the scavenging model which is clearly unstructured & unreliable. The recyclables which we neatly harvest directly from post-consumers are highly sought after by recycling plants against the ones harvested from dumpsites by scavengers which most times are commingled with dirt making recycling expensive. We have one venture called Wecyclers operating with a similar model like ours, but while we reward based on quantity, they reward based on mass. Our approach fosters subscriber confidence, reliability and loyalty.
Team

Founding Story

My Husband and I noticed on our vacation trips abroad, the strict regulation in ensuring that post-consumers (residents & tourists) recycle their waste appropriately. We carefully observed & studied the recycling systems adopted in various countries we spent our vacation & decided to give it a try on returning home to Nigeria. Our population in Nigeria offered good feasibility indices & forecast for success in the niche market of uniquely collecting, processing and selling recyclable waste. We designed a collection model & started collecting our own waste to analyze our own rate of collection & this soon extended to our neighbors & friends who explored & were excited to join the scheme.

Team

RecyclePoints founding & management team comprise of outstanding career professionals that are driven with the passion for a sustainable environment. We currently have Five (5) members in our Board; Six (6) full time graduates as administrative staff who control our various operational segments based on their qualifications and 25 operational contract staff. We have designed a rigorous recruitment process that assures us on the skills, passion and commitment of our workers. We also engage interns and volunteers on a part-time basis to promote society appreciation of our environmental business model. Our workers are frequently trained internally through third party consultants to ensure they meet the necessary skill sets required to effectively carry out their job responsibilities.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Twitter

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder/Chief Operating Officer

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

My Husband and I during the early years of our marriage in 2006, pioneered the establishment of a retail setup that distributes Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as Cooking Gas to households and commercial entities. We setup a company and sought to become a distributor for a renowned petroleum marketing giant in our region. Our company Trade Gas Services Limited won the rights of distribution of Oando Plc cooking gas in two cities (Owerri & Port-Harcourt). We grew the operations of that venture and in 2013, we sought after and won a Small Business (Start-up and Expansion) Grant offered by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria Program (YouWin). This grant agreement signed on the 28th of June 2013, facilitated the construction of an LPG bottling plant in Owerri that allows us to take full control of our supply and distribution of Cooking gas.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

RecyclePoints applied to participate in the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) and was successfully shortlisted under the Waste Management Category. I successfully completed a robust entrepreneurship curriculum through the mentor guided program and on the 11th of July 2015, received a Certificate of Achievement with Seed Capital to support my recycling scheme by Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, the founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Comments

Through recycling, we are able to bring revolutionary changes in the society. Most of the recycling schemes are really beneficial for organizations, in every country; there are several non-profitable and profitable organizations are frequently involving in recycling scheme programs, to bring awareness among people and teach the benefits of recycling.  Recycling became a popular scheme and also beneficial for different organizations; so day by day its popularity rapidly increases every corner of the world.