Recyclable waste prices up by double-digit

The prices of recyclable wastes such as PET bottles, nylon, copper, aluminium and bronze have gone up significantly in the last 18months.

This is due to the monopoly of dumpsites by individuals who have placed restrictions on sites thereby preventing scavengers from accessing the sites to source for waste products.

‘‘Most of the dumpsites have been contracted out to people to manage. The managers prevent people from gaining access into these sites,’’ said Cynthia Saka, CEO of T.cynthia Nigeria Limited, a 29-year old recycling company in Lagos.

‘‘They (managers) do the collection and crushing all by themselves and also sell to end-users. We buy whatever waste people bring to us but we also have people who go round to pick wastes for us’’

BusinessDay findings in Lagos metropolis revealed that the prices of recyclable wastes are going up markedly. A kilogram of nylon which sold for between N40 and N45 in late August 2016, now goes for between N100 and N150, representing over 100 percent increase.

As at Friday, 1kg of PET bottles was selling for between N30 and N40, as against N10 in August, 2016. Similarly, one kilogram of bronze increased to N700- N1,000, from N300 in August. A kilogram of Aluminium, now sells for N150-N250, from N100 within the same period.

‘‘I have ready buyers but getting these products is not as easy as it was before,’’ said Bashiru Ahmed, a scavenger in Lagos. ‘‘Three days ago, I sold N329kg of bottles and I’m out again trying to gather some.’’

However, Mohammed, another scavenger prefers to trade some of his goods outside the country to make more profit.

‘‘Whenever I pick bronze, I kept them and when I have lots of them, I take them to Cotonou and sell at N2,300-N2,500 per kilogram,’’ he said.

According to Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), the state generates about 13,000 metric tonnes of waste daily and recyclers say only 10 percent of the waste is being recycled.

In 2015, the global plastic recycling market was valued at US$ 31.5 billion, according to a report by Transparency Market Research and it’s expected to reach US$ 56.8 billion by 2024.

‘‘We clean, treat, crush and palletise plastics and sell to Sumo plastics, Dana plastic and Chinese companies who use them to produce shopping bags, bowl, buckets, plastic components in travel bags and other plastic products,’’ said Amaka Raji, a recycler in Lagos.

Some recyclers who spoke with BusinessDay listed epileptic power supply, capital and access to raw materials as their major challenges.

‘‘We spend a lot of money on diesel to power our generator because power supply is not reliable,’’ Raji said.

‘‘We don’t separate our waste in Nigeria and it’s usually a huge problem cleaning wastes that are mixed up. With dirty products, we end up running the waste four times in the machine instead of once. If we dispose our refuse properly, we won’t be asking for supply.’’

Alarape Babatunde, managing director, Babs Alarape multipurpose ventures, has been dealing in the recycling of polythene products for eight years. He said the business is lucrative but capital is holding many who would love to venture into the back.

‘‘I have a customer in Ilorin that I supply N2million worth of products to and many others in Lagos who buy close to the same amount. On the average, my profit in a month is N3.5million,’’ said Babatunde.

‘‘If government can give financial aids to these people in the form of loans just as they do for agriculture, many people will delve into the business and do well.’’

According to Saka, one of the pioneers of waste recycling in Nigeria, the business is worth billions of Naira but the industry is grossly untapped.

‘‘Government needs to encourage people that are on the business. The business is a profitable one though not as profitable as it was for us when we started the business because many people are coming into the business,’’ she said.

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