Trash can

Lagos’s garbage entrepreneurs are cleaning up. Adeyemi Adelekan explains.

While growing up in a small suburban community in Lagos state, I was accustomed to hearing people with carts and sacks calling out to households willing to sell used or unwanted wares. Sometimes clanging iron scrap, they would shout: “Onigo de o” (bottle buyers are here) or “Awan ra ke o” (we buy plastics).

Nearby, there were several pop-up shops where artisans restored damaged products and small retail outlets sold second-hand items. Waste pickers were a common sight as they scavenged bins and Lagos’s growing number of landfill sites for anything useful. They had an organised network from which they traded recyclable waste materials

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Adeyemi Adelekan

Adeyemi carries out research activities both at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University London and the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). Prior …

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