Nigeria Urged to Boost Recycling Infrastructure for a Sustainable Circular Economy

Nigeria Urged to Boost Recycling Infrastructure for a Sustainable Circular Economy
Workers load plastic waste into bags. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Nigeria Urged to Boost Recycling Infrastructure for a Sustainable Circular Economy

In a bid to foster a sustainable circular economy, experts in the sustainability sector are urging the Nigerian government to collaborate with the private sector to expand efficient recycling plants nationwide. This call was echoed at the 8th annual Circular Economy Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, where stakeholders emphasized the importance of diligently implementing environmental and waste control regulations in Nigeria.

Ms. Clare Romanik, Lead Ocean Plastics and Urban Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), highlighted the pressing need for Nigeria to combat the rising pollution of its environment, rivers, lakes, and oceans caused by plastic waste. She stressed the necessity for increased recycling plants across the country and suggested that products that are not easily recyclable should prompt government intervention in the production process.

According to Ms. Shereen Shaheen, Head of Corporate Affairs, Middle East/Africa at Tetra Pak, a leading food processing and packaging solutions company, collaborations are underway with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and other stakeholders to address sustainability challenges. Shaheen emphasized the importance of more effective waste management regulations and the challenge posed by importing most raw materials, urging a focus on locally sourced packaging materials for sustainability.

Dr. George Njenga, Founder of Strathmore Business School, Kenya, and Chief of Party for the USAID strategic partnership, stressed the need for increased awareness, especially in rural areas, on the benefits of a circular economy. He emphasized the challenge of reaching the large population in villages and slum areas, calling for government infrastructure and partnerships with donor organizations to promote a positive mindset for profit in circular business models.

Njenga proposed that the Federal Government provide tax incentives to recycling companies and enact policies encouraging Nigerians to take used plastics to recycling plants. He suggested strict measures, such as refusing to import products from companies that do not recycle their products or lack a green certificate.

The Circular Economy Conference brought together sustainability stakeholders, academia, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs from across Africa. The discussions centered on innovations in sustainable circular business development, covering themes such as waste to value, plastics, circular economy, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), packaging, agriculture, and more.

As Nigeria navigates the path towards a circular economy, these recommendations from experts highlight the crucial role of collaboration between the government and the private sector in building robust recycling infrastructure and promoting sustainable practices nationwide.


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