Sustainability Solution 2014: Pedal-powered Recycling in Nigeria

COPENHAGEN--()--Nigerian initiative, Wecyclers wins the 2014 Sustainia Award, chaired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, for a solution that enables low-income communities to make money from waste piling up in their streets. By deploying a fleet of cargo bicycles to collect and recycle unmanaged waste in Nigeria’s capital Lagos, Wecyclers lets families exchange garbage for consumer goods via an SMS-based point system.

The Sustainia Award Ceremony showcases leading sustainability solutions in Copenhagen, where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently gathered to present its new report on risks related to climate change.

“The threats from climate change are real and they are here. But so are the solutions. I am very inspired by this year’s Sustainia Award winner, Wecyclers. They show us that communities can create local solutions to waste and recycling issues, which are not only more sustainable but also improve public health and create new jobs and businesses. By coming together and acting in new ways, we can create positive and sustainable change in our communities and inspire cities around the world to do the same,” says Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and chair of Sustainia Award.

Wecyclers is a response to local waste issues in Lagos, where only 40 per cent of the city’s garbage is collected. The World Bank estimates that only 10 per cent of waste in Africa is collected. More than 5,000 households have signed up so far and there are plans to extend the initiative to other cities throughout Nigeria. Recycling companies purchase Wecyclers’ sorted waste for reprocessing for products as mattresses, pillows, trash bags etc.

We are so overwhelmed to win the Sustainia Award. I have always thought of our initiative as low-tech but high-impact. We focused on building a technology that would solve the unique problems of the communities we operate in. Many other cities can help their communities in similar ways and provide healthier and cleaner surroundings for their citizens. This award gives us a great opportunity to share our work,” says Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, CEO of Wecyclers.

“Solutions to combat climate change are not only high-tech innovations focused on cutting emissions, creating infrastructure or efficiency. To successfully solve the variety of challenges, we need variety in our solutions as well. Wecyclers is a leading example of a solution that empowers its community to lead healthier, wealthier and more sustainable lives. It offers very clear incentives for all players to get on board and that is exactly what can help this solution succeed,” says Laura Storm, Director of Sustainia.

Solutions to the World’s Climate Threats

Together with nine other leading innovations from seven countries, the Nigerian company unfolded their solution on stage at the annual Sustainia Award Ceremony, an event celebrating state-of-the-art innovations across 10 sectors such as food, fashion, transportation and buildings. The yearly Copenhagen ceremony showcases readily available solutions, particularly relevant this year as the global spotlight is shining on the Danish capital. More than 1000 climate scientists, business leaders and experts are currently gathered in the city awaiting the concluding report from a seven-year study of the impacts of climate change.

Sustainia Award Ceremony highlights solutions to many of the grave challenges we are facing these years. Sustainability is not solely a matter of bringing down emissions. It is also a question of using our natural resources more intelligently and creating healthier lives for ourselves. The showcased solutions provide us with tangible sustainability alternatives for our cities, homes, wardrobe, transportation and much more.” Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and member of Sustainia Award Committee.

The anticipated report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be presented November 2nd in Copenhagen, and will highlight recommendations for policymaking. All Sustainia Award solutions are available online at Sustainia.me.

PRESS PHOTOS

Ceremony and winner photos are available on flickr.com/sustainia, Oct. 30th approx. 11pm CET.

SUSTAINIA AWARD SOLUTIONS

All projects nominated for Sustainia Award 2014 are published online at: http://issuu.com/sustainia/docs/sustainia_top10_2014?e=4517615/9429162.

WHAT IS SUSTAINIA?

Based in Copenhagen, Sustainia is a sustainability think tank working to scale the deployment of innovative solutions and provide industries and organizations with a shortcut to sustainable transformation. Based on tangible know-how, innovation and technologies, Sustainia showcases the sustainable future we could achieve if existing solutions were implemented on a large scale. Sustainia is founded by Scandinavian think tank Monday Morning and developed in close collaboration with; Realdania, DNV GL, Novo Nordisk, Storebrand, UN Global Compact, WWF, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s initiative Regions20 and International Federation for Housing and Planning.

Contacts

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR INTERVIEWS:
Marie Louise Gørvild, cell + 45 6170 9104
Communications Manager
mlg@mm.dk

Release Summary

Nigerian initiative, Wecyclers wins the 2014 Sustainia Award, chaired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, for a solution that enables low-income communities to make money from waste piling up in their streets

Contacts

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR INTERVIEWS:
Marie Louise Gørvild, cell + 45 6170 9104
Communications Manager
mlg@mm.dk