By Chioma Obinna
With growing concern about the quantity of plastic waste entering the natural environment, harming wildlife and damaging ecosystems globally, and an estimated 70 per cent making it to the ocean, Nestlé yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Wecyclers, to accelerate the process of recovering and recycling post-consumption plastic packaging waste in Lagos State.
Nigeria generates more than 32 million metric tonnes of waste annually with Lagos alone producing about 10,000 metric tonnes of waste daily, most of which end up in landfills and in waterways, exacerbating health challenges and environmental hazards.
According to the United Nations, UN, the situation is a planetary problem that is causing irreparable damage.
In the Views of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, during the signing of the MOU in Lagos, Nigeria is witnessing a surge in plastic waste pollution due to the increasing usage and indiscriminate disposal of single-use plastics,
Alarcon said Nestlé was committed to working together with governments, NGOs and other private sector and industry stakeholders to develop a circular plastic economy, where plastic is collected, recycled and reused efficiently. The company is a founding member of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) whose mission is to build self-sustaining recycling economy around post-consumer packaging waste in order to stimulate employment, wealth creation and innovation.
He said the agreement with a social enterprise organization like Wecyclers that helps households in low-income communities capture value from their waste enables them to extend plastics waste recovery systems to more communities through the establishment of collection points across five more communities.
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The Nestle boss said: the project will also help to create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters, and empower an additional 15,000 Wecylcer subscribers, adding that tackling the plastics situation is an urgent priority which requires multi-sector collaboration.
“One of our ambitions at Nestlé is to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations as we strive towards a waste-free future. A key part of achieving this goal is to make 100% of our packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025. Another important element is our vision that none of our product packaging, including plastics, should end up in landfills or as litter in our environment, in our seas, oceans, and waterways. Tackling plastic pollution is an urgent priority which requires multi-sector collaboration, so this MOU with Wecyclers is another step towards achieving our shared objectives of a waste-free future and building thriving communities.”
“In line with the belief that producers and consumers need to change behaviour and habits to manage the menace, we are taking actions with other industry members of FBRA and are also engaging our people, our consumers, and business partners to play their part in tackling the plastics problem. At Nestlé, we are passionate about protecting the environment where we work and take action to protect and improve it.”
Speaking, CEO of Wecyclers, Mr. Olawale Adebiyi explained that the partnership was an avenue to extend the plastics collection and recycling process by setting up more collection sites across Lagos.
“We are indeed pleased to partner with Nestlé to achieve our objectives of helping to create a plastics recycling ecosystem in Nigeria. We are also happy that in addition to tackling the plastics menace, the project will also help to create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters while empowering an additional 15,000 Wecyclers subscribers.”
The recycling exchange programme since its inception in 2018 has diverted over 400 tonnes of plastics from the landfills into productive reuse. Wecyclers will handle the construction and deployment of each recycling kiosk, with coverage areas including Ajah, Ikeja, Mushin, Lagos Island, and Magodo.