How These Three Nigerians are Making Millions from Waste

Waste management is a huge challenge in Nigeria, a country with a population of over 200 million people and a fast-growing economy. According to the Waste Management Society of Nigeria, the country generates about 65 million tonnes of waste every year, most of which ends up in landfills, dumpsites, or waterways, causing environmental and health problems.

However, some entrepreneurs are seeing opportunities in this problem and creating innovative solutions that turn waste into wealth. One such is Scrapays, a clean-tech startup that combines technology and finance to encourage households and businesses to sell their recycled waste.

Scrapays was founded in 2019 by Tope Sulaimon, Boluwatife Arewa, and Olumide Ogunleye, all graduates of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). The trio had a passion for solving social and environmental problems using technology and decided to focus on the recycling sector after conducting market research and identifying the gaps in the existing waste recovery models.

Scrapays uses a software-based recovery network that connects waste producers, collectors, vendors, and recyclers through various platforms such as USSD, mobile app, web app, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The startup provides its users with incentives such as cash rewards, airtime, data, or vouchers for selling their recyclable waste such as plastic bottles, cans, paper, or metal.

The startup also leverages on the existing informal sector of waste pickers and aggregators who collect and sort waste from different locations. Scrapays equips them with smart devices that enable them to track their transactions, access data analytics, and receive payments. The startup also partners with recycling companies who buy the sorted waste from the vendors and process them into raw materials or finished products.

Scrapays aims to create a circular economy where waste is seen as a valuable resource that can be reused or repurposed. The startup also hopes to create social impact by creating jobs, empowering low-income earners, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving public health and sanitation.

Since its launch, Scrapays has recovered over 500 tonnes of recyclable waste, engaged over 10,000 users, created over 100 jobs, and generated over $100,000 in revenue. The startup has also won several awards and grants such as the Impactionable Social Innovation Award, the Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge, and the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.

Scrapays is one of the startups that are transforming the informal recycling sector in Nigeria and creating value from waste. The startup plans to scale its operations across the country and beyond, as well as introduce more features and services to its platform. Scrapays is proving that waste is not a problem but an opportunity.

We at SPY NIGERIA want to celebrate the Scrapays team today. What you are doing is awesome and great for the environment. Keep pushing higher and higher and redefining what is possible. You are truly a Rising African and an able role model for the new African. Rising Africa is a dynamic platform that highlights the remarkable achievements of Africans worldwide and provides up-to-date information on scholarships and sponsorships available to African youth. Our vision is to inspire and empower the next generation of African leaders by showcasing the diverse accomplishments and talents of Africans across different fields, including technology, business, arts and culture, and social activism.

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