Unlocking billions in Nigeria: Three entrepreneurs in the recycling sector

Kaltani collects and recycles plastic waste.

Kaltani collects and recycles plastic waste.

Nigeria’s waste management and recycling industry offers significant potential. In Lagos alone, only 20% of the estimated 13 million tonnes of annual waste is properly collected. This results in clogged infrastructure, floods, disease, and an estimated $2.5 billion loss in potential recycling value each year.

We highlight three entrepreneurs who are capitalising on Nigeria’s waste recycling opportunity.

1. An opportunity worth millions: Exporting Lagos’ plastic waste

Kaltani is an end-to-end plastic recycling business. The company collects and processes waste plastics, reselling the recycled materials for use in consumer goods packaging and other items. “The market for plastic recycling in Nigeria is a $10 billion market,” says Obi Charles Nnanna, Kaltani’s founder and CEO. “Unlike a lot of companies in the recycling space, Kaltani covers the A to Z chain of plastic recycling. That is, we collect, process, and resell the plastic. Many companies focus only on one aspect.”

“We have buyers in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and Canada, as well as Nigeria. It happens that a lot of buyers are international companies, but a lot of large local firms are also becoming more aware and willing to use recycled materials,” he adds. Read more

2. Entrepreneur turns trash into cash with rubber recycling business

Ifedolapo Runsewe, founder of Freee Recycle in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria, has created a waste management company that transforms discarded vehicle tyres into usable products. Freee Recycle’s facility in Ibadan’s industrial area can handle around 150 car tyres per hour and has processed 250,000 tyres so far. “Our plan is to scale up to one million tyres per annum or more, and to achieve that we will need to set up other crushing sites around the country,” says Runsewe.

One of Freee Recycle’s top products is rubber tiles that sell for about $45 per square metre. The company also produces mats, paving bricks, marine bumpers, kerbs, insulation rolls, and other rubber accessories. Read more

3. Managing waste in Abuja: Businesswoman spots potential

Olufunto Boroffice, CEO of Chanja Datti, leads a waste recycling company based in Abuja, Nigeria. After living in the US and working for General Electric for many years, she returned to Nigeria in 2014. The company operates through three main channels: it buys waste from local waste pickers and provides collection services for corporate clients such as embassies, hotels, donor agencies, and banks; it recycles plastic waste into semi-processed raw materials for plastic manufacturers; and it recycles LDPE (low-density polyethylene) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) into plastic resins or pellets. Read more