An entrepreneur Ifedolapo Runsewe has identified another type of black gold: used car tyres in Nigeria, a country heavily reliant on revenues from its oil exports.
She has set up Freetown Waste Management Recycle, an industrial plant dedicated to transforming old tyres into paving bricks, floor tiles and other goods that are in high demand in Africa’s most populous nation.
Waste management in Nigeria is patchy at best. In villages, towns and cities, piles of waste are a common sight, and residents often burn them at night for lack of a safer method of disposal. Tyres are routinely dumped and abandoned.
Freetown relies on scavengers who collect old tyres from dumping grounds. They are paid 70 to 100 naira ($0.17-$0.24) per tyre. Some tyres are also supplied directly by mechanics, like Akeem Rasaq, who is delighted to have found a place where he can make some money from old tyres.
Freetown started operations in 2020 with just four employees, and growth has been so rapid the workforce has jumped to 128. So far, more than 100,000 tyres have been recycled into everything from speed bumps to soft paving for playgrounds.
According to Reuters