In a world grappling with the environmental challenges posed by tire waste, Nigeria is making strides towards a sustainable future through innovative recycling initiatives. The Tire Industry Project reports a staggering one billion end-of-life tires generated globally each year, with an estimated four billion currently residing in landfills and stockpiles worldwide. Nigeria, however, stands out as a beacon of change with Freee Recycle leading the way. Established in 2018, Freee Recycle has successfully transformed over 400,000 discarded tires into valuable products, ranging from paving bricks to floor tiles and flip flops. This article delves into the importance of recycling in Nigeria and sheds light on the tire recycling process employed by Freee Recycle.
There is a pervasive issue of waste In Nigerian streets, with discarded tires being a common sight. Ifedolapo Runsewe, the Managing Director of Freee Recycle, emphasizes the severity of the problem, stating that a brief walk would reveal at least ten discarded tires. They often find their way into drainages and street corners, creating an environmental hazard. The need for effective waste management solutions is pressing, and Freee Recycle is at the forefront of addressing this challenge. Freee Recycle employs an innovative and environmentally friendly process to transform old tires into valuable products. The tires undergo a meticulous process of being ground into small pieces, which are then mixed with an adhesive. This adhesive allows workers to shape the waste into various products, harnessing the versatility of tire materials such as rubber and steel.
Pervasive issue of waste in the country and the recycling process.
Ifedolapo Runsewe underscores the versatility of tires, highlighting the value derived from the rubber, steel, and fiber components. The recycled materials are then utilized to create products that not only contribute to waste reduction but also have an extended shelf life. The company’s flagship product, the rubber paving stone, has gained popularity despite its slightly higher cost, owing to its durability and eco-friendly attributes. A set of 40 rubber paving stones costs approximately $60 and is available in major Nigerian cities, including Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. Despite the success of Freee Recycle, challenges persist, particularly in the logistics of raw material transportation.
Bolanle Emmanuel, Oyo state coordinator of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, acknowledges the need to address challenges in transporting raw materials to recycling sites. She suggests the replication of recycling centers in different communities, allowing for the crushing of tires into compressed volumes for easier transportation. This decentralized approach could streamline the process and make tire recycling more accessible, ultimately contributing to the reduction of waste across Nigeria. Overcoming logistical challenges is crucial for the scalability and sustainability of tire recycling initiatives.
Environmental impact and CO2 emission reduction.
Freee Recycle takes pride in its significant contribution to environmental preservation. The company estimates that it has prevented more than 8,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions since its inception. Eid Zouki, a construction engineer who recently commissioned Freee Recycle for a school flooring solution, applauds the company for making environmentally conscious choices. Zouki envisions a global shift towards sustainability, with societies worldwide embracing the trend of using recycled and sustainable materials to combat air pollution caused by waste burning. The environmental benefits of tire recycling extend beyond reducing CO2 emissions.
By repurposing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills, Freee Recycle is actively mitigating air and soil pollution. The utilization of recycled rubber in products like flooring solutions not only conserves natural resources but also provides a viable alternative to conventional materials. In addition to its operational endeavors, Freee Recycle recognizes the importance of education and awareness in promoting sustainable practices. The company actively engages in outreach programs to inform communities about the environmental impact of tire waste and the benefits of recycling. By fostering a sense of environmental responsibility, Freee Recycle aims to create a lasting impact on Nigeria’s waste management landscape.
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Again, Nigeria stands at a critical juncture in its pursuit of sustainable waste management solutions, and Freee Recycle serves as a shining example of innovation in this regard. The tire recycling process implemented by the company not only addresses the immediate issue of tire waste but also contributes to a greener, more environmentally conscious future. As Nigeria grapples with the challenges of waste disposal, initiatives like Freee Recycle pave the way for a circular economy where discarded materials find new life in valuable products. Through a combination of technological innovation, community engagement, and environmental awareness, Nigeria has the potential to emerge as a leader in sustainable waste management practices.
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