Nigerians Turn to Recycling to Boost Economic Activity

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In Nigeria, a country heavily reliant on revenues from its oil exports, entrepreneur Ifedolapo Runsewe has identified another type of black gold: used car tyres. She has set up Freetown Waste Management Recycle, an industrial plant dedicated to transforming old tires into paving bricks, floor tiles and other goods that are in high demand in Africa’s most populous nation.

“Creating something new from something that will otherwise be lying somewhere as waste was part of the motivation,” Runsewe told Reuters at her factory in the city of Ibadan in southwest Nigeria.

Freetown started operations in 2020 with just four employees, and growth has been so rapid the workforce has jumped to 128. So far, more than 100,000 tyres have been recycled into everything from speed bumps to soft paving for playgrounds.

“It is important to support anybody that recycles in our country,” said Houssam Azem, founder of the Lagos Jet Ski Riders Club, which has purchased paving bricks from Freetown for a children’s play area.

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