Nigeria’s Recyclan, a tech-enabled recycling company, has established operations across Africa as it collects waste and exports it to the rest of the world.
Launched in 2018 by Chime Okwuokenye, Rob Homan and Molawa Adesuyi, Recyclan is on a mission to reduce Africa’s carbon footprint and make the world greener by recycling plastic waste.
The startup is reducing plastic waste on beaches, landfills and in the ocean by driving collection through technology. Its mobile app and SMS service incentive people to recycle their waste, offering things like access to health insurance, sanitary towels, and schools fees in exchange.
It then processes and packages this waste to customer specification and then exports it to North America, Europe and Asia. Adesuyi said the company had so far recycled 2,500 metric tonnes of plastic waste, the equivalent of more than 1,500 cars.
“Plastic waste is ruining our land, contaminating our oceans, killing our sea life and adversely affecting our planet,” he said.
“Africa has the highest rate of inadequately managed plastic waste. It’s toxic to the environment, but raw cash if harnessed.”
Recyclan is harnessing this waste by exporting it to the rest of the world, filling a sizeable gap.
“Plastic waste is such a massive global problem such that there are not nearly enough companies recycling plastic. This means the few companies who recycle actually buy and trade with each other,” Adesuyi said.
Self-funded thus far, Recyclan has nonetheless expanded its waste collection operations across the continent. It is active in eight states of Nigeria, as well as Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Kenya.
“Leveraging on regional agreements that are currently being made in Africa we plan to use technology to scale our recycling model across Africa,” said Adesuyi.
“We will invest locally in human capital in the markets we operate in and create a recycling culture that doesn’t exist in Africa.”
That recycling culture will be built in order to export collected waste to markets in North America, Europe and Asia. Recyclan recently set up a hot washing factory in the United Kingdom (UK) from where it processes its own product, increasing its revenues. Adesuyi said the startup has made over US$1.1 million in revenue already, and has a 40 per cent margin.