Nestlé Nigeria Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wecyclers, a social enterprise company to tackle plastic waste pollution and its devastating consequences in Lagos State through recycling in its bid towards having a free waste future in Nigeria.

The aim of the MOU, according to both parties is to turn waste into wealth in the state, thereby creating huge job opportunities for Nigerians along recycling value chain.

Speaking on Nestle’s commitment in managing plastic waste at the signing held in the state recently, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, said there was growing concern around the quantity of plastic waste entering the natural environment, harming wildlife and damaging ecosystems globally.

“In Nigeria, we see the problem growing all around us. Due to the increasing usage and indiscriminate disposal of single use plastics, we are witnessing a surge in plastic waste pollution.
“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. Tackling this plastics situation is an urgent priority which requires multisector collaboration”, Alarcon said.

According to the Nestle boss, it is estimated that 70% of all ocean litter is plastics, adding that the environmental impact is so enormous that the United Nations described it as a planetary crisis that is causing irreparable damage.

Alarcon noted that Nestlé, is committed to working together with governments, non-governmental organisations and the other private sector and industry stakeholders to
develop a circular plastic economy, where plastic is collected, recycled and reused efficiently.

He explained: “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 multisector collaboration, so this MOU with Wecyclers is another step towards achieving our shared objectives of a waste-free future and building thriving communities.”

Alarcon further said: “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 Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance 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.”

On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers, Mr Olawale Adebiyi, said: “This partnership is 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”, he said.