Wecyclers gives low-income communities in Lagos, Nigeria a chance to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through incentive-based recycling.
Unmanaged waste torments cities across the developing world. This pilot is the beginning of our efforts to change that.
Following our research in Lagos in January, we are returning to Nigeria to provide the first-ever recycling service in slum communities. Wecyclers gives low-income households a chance to recycle by providing convenient collection services and offering incentives to participate. Households that recycle with Wecyclers receive redeemable points via SMS in exchange for the materials that they recycle. At quarterly redemption events, subscriber households will be able to redeem their points for basic goods like food items, soap, and cell phone credit. We take the material that we collect and sell it to local recyclers.
From August through December 2012, Wecyclers will run a pilot recycling program in the community of Itire in Lagos, Nigeria. This pilot will allow us to test our SMS platform and our low-cost collection infrastructure to determine how to run the Wecyclers’ service sustainably so that recycling services can be expanded to other communities in Lagos, and beyond.
If we reach our tipping point goal of $3,000 we will be able to create a pilot recycling program for 200 households in Itire for 5 months. This includes $1,500 for recycling awareness events, household registration and training, $1,300 to employ a former waste picker at a living wage (160% of Nigeria's minimum wage) to conduct household recycling collection, and $200 to cover the cost of SMS messages we’ll send to households to track their redeemable Wecyclers points.
If we hit our stretch goal of $12,000 we will be able to quadruple the size of our launch to include 800 households in our pilot launch and employ four additional former wastepickers.