Retink Media

Retink Media: Cash4Trash

Lagos, NigeriaLagos, Nigeria
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Cash4Trash ensures environmental sustainability by promoting recycling and thereby reducing waste transported to landfills at the same time providing socio-economic gains and benefits from waste generated in urban households and business places.

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

What if you get paid for properly sorting waste you generate for recycling, and thereby contribute to reducing waste at landfills and same time save the environment from pollution?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Currently an estimated of 10,000 tonnes of waste is generated in Lagos. The problem this project is trying to solve is indiscriminate and improper management of municipal waste. Most times waste produced by households, businesses and offices linger too long before they are disposed causing air pollution and those disposed into water bodies causes water pollution and even flooding. These damages can be reduced by buying wastes for recycling.

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

One way of solving urban waste problems is by indirectly making households and businesses imbibe the culture of recycling by buying waste from those who are able to properly sort their waste into different waste bins or bags. An app would be developed which would be able to calculate wastes collected from households, individuals and businesses over a period of time, and when substantial amount have been collected, the app linked to the customer's account number during the process of registration will automatically calculate the equivalent of waste collected over that period of time in cash by alerting the customer by an SMS to request for payout. Families can use these proceeds for other needs. After which they can start the cycle afresh.


U.S government small grant
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 project will reduce poverty in Lagos state by at least 5% in its first year of operation. Some waste vendors are already in the business of buying waste, some of the things that makes this project unique is the fact that households and individuals will no longer worry about their waste not being picked up by the Lagos state government authority, secondly recycling methods and culture will gradually become a popular when people sort their waste at home and just by downloading an app, they can get prompt and quick collection of their waste with points recorded for each volume of waste collected and they get an alert for payment for a date they entered to be paid as far as they successfully signed up using the Cash4Trash app for business.

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

There will be an encouraging reduction in the amount of waste transported to landfills. Thereby drastically decreasing the amount of air pollution around us and the environment will become fresher and cleaner. Thereby eliminating breeding grounds or spaces for mosquitoes and rats, which spread diseases. Above all, the project will reduce poverty by at least 2% in Nigeria in its first year of operations when households and families download the cash4trash app and sign up for their waste to be collected for cash at their homes. For households who don't have access to mobile phones or the internet. They can still partake in the process as far as they fulfill the criteria for participation, which is proper waste sorting for recycling. This process will cut down greenhouse gasses like methane at landfills by 5%. Also there will be a reduction of roadside and drainage refuse dumping in cities.

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

To achieve a greater impact in a long term, there has to be a collaborative effort by the Nigerian government to create policies that will encourage recycling. As such integrating systems of rewards by the government to persons that have records of recycling over a period, will spark competition for recycling in communities and create more value for waste. If such policy applies, by our system of cash for trash, it will help in better organisation of operations, which will help us to expand to other cities like Port Harcourt and Abuja with recycling companies, which will ease operations set up

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

The project will be sustained through incomes from Recycling companies and sales of some recyclable items exclusively to some big consumers' brand in Nigeria like Nestle and Nigerian bottling company. To ensure financial sustainability of the project businesses that sign up to buy waste will be charged just a token for haulage. Another sustainable plan is to resell some recycled items using waste items generated and collected from the households.

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

There are numerous companies like Wecyclers, Recycle Articreate, T.Cynthia Nigeria Ltd addressing similar problems. What differentiates our project from theirs is the fact that we don't give incentives in cash, we are encouraging sub-urban communities and household to embrace self-recycling, by equipping them with necessary waste bags for sorting before we collect. At the same opening up local communities to the use of simple real time ICT enabled mobile mechanism in managing their waste, which would further open up more opportunities to them in a widely connected world.

Founding Story

The company started in February 2015 when Solomon Eko and Gloria Ikegubule came together to write a script for a jingle to promote his small business. As a writer and photographer on the underhand, telling environmental stories through the lens has always been of interest to him. Seeing a need to contribute to the environment, he decided to develop a photo project on climate change, LivingonLagosEdge, it was during this project that he thought of 'WeSeparateWaste', a recycling awareness and waste management project for students, this was inspired by his project on shooting climate change affected communities. Today, they're focused on business, environment and development stories in Africa.


At the moment, the management team consist of the two founders in the persons of Solomon Eko and Gloria Ikegbule, who doubles as administrative Director. On the team of experts are 3 persons. Adetokunbo Ojo, who is an ICT and web development expert, he heads the ICT department for this project. He is fundamentally responsible for building the websites and apps necessary for this project. The next person on the the team of experts is Ayodeji Oloyede, a director of photography D.O.P and professional cinematographer with a certificate in cinematography and film making. He is responsible for shooting videos for campaigns and documentaries. And then God's Love Hyacinth, he is responsible for the team's still photography for campaigns, documentation and events. We're bringing in a social media and digital marketing strategists to become members of the team of experts and also an external expert consultant who has been a waste entrepreneur for so many years, in the person of Mrs. Cynthia Saka to give advice and open us to the vast networks of recycling plants and companies, with her insight and experience we will be able to get information on comparative advantage and cost in order to know those to do business with in a long term. The team I'm working with at the moment possess the right skills and qualifications needed for the success of the project, and their motivation to work will crown our success for the project.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

through this website:

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

Co-founder/Managing Director

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]

No Poverty, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

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

I started Siga Dainamix, an event planning company with my elder brother in 2006. I was responsible for business and content development for the company. I wrote proposals that won us several jobs and contracts. I pioneered a German cultural organisation back in my University days in Unilag, though it was non-profit. We were able to gain partnership with the Goethe-Institut Lagos and collaborated with them to execute successful programmes that benefitted the students. At the end of my tenure as president of the organisation, there were over 30 students who could successfully write and speak basic German. I have also helped in developing ideas and initiatives that have become successful today both in the private and public sector. One of the initiative I pioneered was the GreenHeart initiative that was used by a local NGO to campaign against indiscriminate burning in our environment. The campaign was successful in the community and today, refuse burning is a thing of the past there.

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

I am working with Emeka Nelson, a green entrepreneur and founder of Greenvest Solar. He's working with me on the project Cash4Trash to bring it to the stage of execution and realisation. We are also collaborating with different partners in the green business and environmental management services alongside with investors, government and NGOs to execute this project. We have a good relationship with the U.S Consulate in Nigeria and we have received a grant award to carry out a related project in the past. Our association with them has enabled us to meet other industry players and even expanded our network. We are in planning to partner with the ministry of environment and the local waste authority to expand our market reach and ease accessibility to necessary communities and households.