RESWAYE empowers women and youth in coastal communities through recycling services and practices

RESWAYE participants

Photo by RESWAYE

RESWAYE empowers women and youth in coastal communities through recycling services and practices

An estimate of over 200,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste from land-based sources in Nigeria is dumped into the Atlantic Ocean annually, according to a study conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on plastics value chain in Nigeria. In Lagos, over 85 communities with an average of 700 members are discharging approximately 1,000 kilograms of plastic waste that end up in the ocean. Yet these communities are also vulnerable to the effects of improper waste management such as flooding and adverse sanitary and health issues. It is estimated that over 200 million Naira, 3,000 direct and 9,000 indirect jobs are lost to environmental degradation and pollution in the Nigeria State of Lagos. On the other hand, waste recycling can provide economic opportunities to youth and women while reducing its environmental impact. For instance, it is estimated that scrap metal and plastic recycling is worth USD 700 million per year in Lagos (see here). 

The Recycling Scheme for Women and Youth Empowerment (RESWAYE) is a unique women and youth empowerment initiative to combat these global issues leading climate change through recycling, building women and youth financially through training them on how to transform waste to wealth. RESWAYE collects plastics, cartons, caps, glasses, and nylons and transforms them into bales of sorted clear plastics. Organic wastes are also collected and processed into compost which are then used in the RESWAYE community garden and the RESWAYE farm to improve food security, thus creating more jobs, reducing waste, and adding to the economy. Its business model is incentivized recyclables collection in coastal areas. The company promotes community engagement in tackling climate issues and provides enterprise opportunities for small scale recycling partnerships. Recyclables are used as a currency to trade hygiene care kits for women and girls, food stuffs, educational materials, and small-scale renovation projects. It encourages a cleaner and more sustainable environment while making communities financially independent. 

Founded in 2019, RESWAYE has a staff of 53 people, 70% of which are women, based in Lagos. To date, the company's achievement include: 

  • 573,783 kg of waste collected across 41 communities. 
  • Over 10,000kg of organic waste collected from residents within our Ikate location in less than 2 years. 
  • Recruited over 4000 women and youths in Lagos communities. 
  • Empowered over 2000 women and youths with recycling business training and startup kits to improve their income and ensure sustainable livelihood. 
  • Impacted 41 communities in Eti-Osa and Ibeju-Lekki 
  • 70% of c-suite positions held by women. 
  • Over 10,500 food support given to children and other youths since 2020 for their efforts in plastic collection through our Free-Food-Friday initiative. 
  • Distributed over 5,000 packs of care kits among girls and young women in both Public Schools, different communities. 
  • Launched the RESWAYE community garden in August 2023 with over 10,000 trees and counting, is a thriving hub of sustainability, job creation, climate action, food security, community composting, upcycling, and organic waste management. 
  • Introduction and establishment of RESWAYE Farm in Akodo-Ise which aims to create a sustainable agricultural initiative that aligns with RESWAYE's mission of community empowerment, environmental sustainability, and economic development. 

RESWAYE plans to expand its business and capture 90% of recyclers market in 70 Nigerian coastal communities by 2025. For this, it will strengthen and expand its partnerships with Local Governments, businesses, waste collectors and the recycling industries. the company also plans to expand into 15 more baling processing sites and beyond plastics, in other prevalent areas in Nigeria. Consequently, RESWAYE is looking to raise USD 1 million in debt. The company has raised USD 400,000 to date. 

RESWAYE is a finalist of the EU-UNDP’s Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) in Nigeria, in the infrastructure sector. The GSIV takes the Nigeria SDG Investor Map one step further by identifying through a highly competitive process enterprises in Nigeria that have developed at-scale products and services that contribute to the SDGs while achieving commercial success and are committed to embed impact considerations into decision-making. By putting the spotlight on and supporting these ventures, UNDP aims to bring forward evidence of the existence of pipelines of investable ventures that can advance the transition to SDG-aligned investments in Nigeria and more broadly, in Africa. 

Learn more and get in touch with RESWAYE:

Direct ImpactDescribes the primary SDG(s) the IOA addresses.
Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12)
Life Below Water (SDG 14)
SectorsMost major industry classification systems use sources of revenue as their basis for classifying companies into specific sectors, subsectors and industries. In order to group like companies based on their sustainability-related risks and opportunities, SASB created the Sustainable Industry Classification System® (SICS®) and the classification of sectors, subsectors and industries in the SDG Investor Platform is based on SICS.