Thursday, September 5, 2013

In Nigeria, recycling rewards via SMS

Online platforms such as France’s CitéGreen have enabled consumers to receive rewards for eco behavior, but what about regions where the internet isn’t so readily available? Wecyclers is a project based in Nigeria that aims to incentivize recycling through text message points that can be exchanged for everyday items. Recycling programs are under developed in countries such as Nigeria, where municipal governments process only 13 percent of potentially recyclable waste. Wecyclers is now encouraging citizens to take the matter into their own hands, separating their plastic bottles and aluminium cans for collection by the startup’s bicycle-powered trailers. Families signing up for the scheme receive points depending on how many kilograms of recyclable material they hand over, sent to them via SMS. Every three months, Wecyclers holds an event where customers can trade their text message points for goods such as cell phone minutes, basic foodstuff and household items. The biggest recyclers can also win more luxurious prizes such as clothes and books. Wecyclers has teamed up with big brands such as Coca-Cola in order to offer the prizes, and has already gained the attention of the Lagos Waste Management Authority. Could other countries with poor waste recycling management implement similar schemes?

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