Meet the Wecyclers – Wecyclers is a Lagos-based startup using an incentive-based program to deal with the waste problem in Lagos, the Nigerian megacity where more than 18 million people live.
Turning trash into cash – Launched by Nigerian entrepreneur Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola a year and a half ago, the company has now some 5,000 households subscribed to its service.
Using a fleet of low-cost cargo bicycles, the startups collects the waste from local people and then sells it on to recycling factories.
Households that subscribe to Wecyclers have waste collected once a week, and the service is free.
Incentives for effort – In order to encourage people to sort rubbish, the company gives them points which they can redeem for items like blenders, irons or soaps every three months.
Dreams for the future – At the moment, most rewards come from donations as the company is yet to turn a profit: "We hope that as we grow and add value to the material we sell then we hope to see profits come in - but now, we are not making profits," says Adebiyi-Abiola.
Social responsibility – Abiola says that her incentive for starting the company has been a desire to improve the living conditions of people in low-income areas.
International recognition – The entrepreneur was the laureate of the Cartier Women's Initiative Award last year.
Big ambition – Wecyclers currently employs 31 people, but Abiola is dreaming big: "In 10 years I want Wecyclers to be the biggest recycling company in Nigeria," she says.