A brand new sort of black gold in Nigeria: used automobile tyres

A person arranges newly moulded rubber interlocking tiles manufactured from recycled automobile tyres on the Freetown waste administration recycle manufacturing unit in Ibadan, Nigeria September 17, 2021. Image taken September 17, 2021. Reuters/Temilade Adelaja

Ibadan, Nigeria: In Nigeria, a rustic closely reliant on revenues from its oil exports, entrepreneur Ifedolapo Runsewe has recognized one other sort of black gold: used automobile tyres.

She has arrange Freetown Waste Administration Recycle, an industrial plant devoted to remodeling outdated tyres into paving bricks, ground tiles and different items which can be in excessive demand in Africa’s most populous nation.

“Creating one thing new from one thing that can in any other case be mendacity someplace as waste was a part of the motivation,” Runsewe instructed Reuters at her manufacturing unit within the metropolis of Ibadan in southwest Nigeria.

“We’re capable of create a whole worth chain across the tyres,” she mentioned, holding a paving brick that is likely one of the firm’s best-selling merchandise.

Waste administration in Nigeria is patchy at greatest. In villages, cities and cities, piles of waste are a standard sight, and residents typically burn them at night time for lack of a safer technique of disposal. Tyres are routinely dumped and deserted.

Freetown depends on scavengers who accumulate outdated tyres from dumping grounds. They’re paid 70 to 100 naira ($0.17-$0.24) per tyre.

Some tyres are additionally provided straight by mechanics, like Akeem Rasaq, who’s delighted to have discovered a spot the place he could make some cash from outdated tyres.

“A lot of the tyres find yourself in public drainage clogging up the drain, however issues have modified,” he mentioned at his roadside workshop.

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Freetown began operations in 2020 with simply 4 workers, and development has been so fast the workforce has jumped to 128. Up to now, greater than 100,000 tyres have been recycled into every little thing from pace bumps to smooth paving for playgrounds.

“You will need to help anyone that recycles in our nation,” mentioned Houssam Azem, founding father of the Lagos Jet Ski Riders Membership, which has bought paving bricks from Freetown for a kids’s play space.

“Taking tyres, which is an environmental nuisance, and turning them into what kids can play on, I feel it’s a win-win for everyone.”