Nigerian start-up Wecyclers, which specialises in the collection, sorting and recycling of waste, has secured $2 million in funding to expand its activities over the next five years in Nigeria. The funds were raised by Unilever West Africa Nigeria, the subsidiary of the Dutch-British multinational and Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, a non-profit social enterprise based in London, England.
The new $2 million financing was provided by the French investment bank Société Générale; through Unilever West Africa Nigeria, the subsidiary of the Dutch-British multinational consumer goods company and the English social enterprise Bridges Outcomes Partnerships. The concession contract to Wecyclers was signed on 17 April 2023. The Nigerian start-up will use the new funding to expand its activities in Nigeria, where it has been collecting, sorting and recycling plastic waste since 2012.
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Wecyclers will use the funding to collect an additional 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste over the next five years in the West African country. This operation will be carried out by the 120 employees of the young company, who will criss-cross the neighbourhoods of Nigeria on tricycles.
Reducing plastic pollution
Wecyclers’ employees will be supported by private collectors who will be recruited to sort waste at source. As part of this operation, the Nigerian start-up will also need over 700 employees in its network of recycling franchises in Nigeria. For the record, Wecyclers recycles plastic waste into raw materials that it resells to industries.
This will help reduce plastic pollution in Nigeria. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2018 the West African country was dumping about 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year, with consequences for aquatic biodiversity. Plastic waste also ends up on the streets, clogging drains and degrading soil quality.
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By agreeing to raise this new funding for Wecyclers, Unilever West Africa Nigeria has chosen to strengthen nine years of cooperation with the Nigerian start-up. Indeed, since 2014, the two companies have been working together as part of Unilever’s ‘Waste to wealth’ campaign, which helps local organisations identify how to create value and jobs from the reduction, collection, recycling and reuse of plastic waste. “This funding is a major step forward in our work to ensure that plastic waste stays out of the Nigerian environment,” says Carl Cruz, Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria.
Bridges Outcomes Partnerships is new to the venture but no less committed. Specialising in supporting organisations with a high human and environmental impact, the London, England-based company has experience, having already supported more than 60 such programmes worldwide. Wecyclers’ recycling policy is now one of them.