Waste recycling is an area in Nigeria that is much neglected, and that is why at every corner, you see mountains of waste littering everywhere. What Nigerian entrepreneurs has failed to understand, is that waste recycling produces over $400 billion dollars worldwide.
Who could have thought that waste plastics, sand and laterite can produce a bullet-proof wall with durability of 200 years? Who could have thought that a polythene bag should not be discarded which is the usual practice, as it can be washed, dried, cut into shreds to serve as threads and later used to make key-holders, mats, bags, baskets, artworks and many others with the use of gifted hands, powerful imagination, creativity and crochet?
How many companies and industries have thought of converting the residue of palm oil and other kitchen oils into fuel which can be used by so many machines? The list is just endless with what Nigerians stand to achieve when the culture of recycling is properly put into place and with enabling laws to bring it to fruition.The business opportunities in waste recycling is almost endless. Last year, Millionaires Academy started a series of articles on waste recycling, which is now a full course in the Academy (WST 201). Today we bring you an interesting development at the American University of Nigeria AUN. We are hoping that more Universities, NGO’s and other organizations will take a leaf from this, and use this opportunity to create jobs, empower young people, at the same helping the environment.
AUN has started a program that trains jobless house wives how to make money from recycling waste nylon materials and plastics. These women use to be full—time house wives with no means of livelihood, even in the form of petty-trading. Coming to AUN to learn the art of knitting with the use of polythene bags did not only liberate them from the shackles of poverty but also doubled their value in the home-front and in the sight of a class-filled society.
One of the beneficiaries of the training and also an expert in the recycling of polythene bags, Amina Yahaya, said:
“The trade captivated me after I saw it and how it is made and because of that, I decided to learn. When I make anything from the materials, the school helps in selling them for me and I get my money. I will encourage women who are fully house wives to come and learn craft. They shouldn’t think we are coming to waste our time. No, we are learning a lot and making something good out of our lives. Sometimes I make N4, 000 or N5, 000 and sometimes I make as much as N9, 000 or even N10, 000. It helps a lot and so I’m calling on fellow women who have nothing to do to come out and learn trades. Let us make use of our hand to improve ourselves and the conditions of our families. Honestly, I have learnt so much. The materials include polythene bags, and they can be of different colours and a crochet.
“For the materials, we can get some of them in markets and sometime we pick them from the ground as there is nothing that can be called waste. You can even send little children to pick them for you, thereby engaging their minds and energies into useful adventures.”
“After gathering them, we wash them with Omo detergent or any kind of detergent so that they can be clean and fit for use. After washing, they are dried on cloth lines and pegged so that they don’t fly away.
“Whenever my husband or anyone brings things to the house, I quickly remove the items from the polythene bags and wash and dry them after which I knit them and make my money.
“Money is not needed as capital in this form of business as you even tell your neighbors to gather their used polythene bags for you. Creativity and time takes the place of finance and can be referred to as using what you have to get what you want: which is money.
“I expect that as a woman, when your fellow woman is always asking you for polythene bags, you should come close to see what she uses them for. Ask questions and crave the desire to learn. For the ones that have been taught, cultivate the habit of coming close to them and learn also.
“Everybody in this vicinity knows about this recycling and or handwork and I’m so thankful to God Almighty for the opportunity to learn the trade and I’m equally praying for long life so that I can do more. We have stopped fighting with our husbands. These days we buy meat, soups and other items for home use. The trade has lessened the upheavals in our families.
“I remember when we started, we will walk some distance to get to AUN and at that time, our children and grandchildren were laughing at us. It seemed like a useless venture but it is paying us today.
“You don’t have to be educated to learn a trade as not all of us can go to school and this is by divine providence. With enlightenment and the knowledge to use your hands and time wisely, you will be able to eat and will also be able to cater for your basic needs.”
AUN also teach them to even convert waste from the shops of tailors into beautiful carpets and Center rugs as well as art works that can be placed on walls, dinning and Center tables, and shawls.
We encourage unemployed people to take this training and start earning some income, or take Millionaire Academy’s online course. Waste recycling can be scaled up to any level. See more examples here on our previous article “TURNING WASTE INTO GOLD“.