In a bid to address environmental issues and create employment opportunities in Nigeria, Ayodele Olaide, an entrepreneur and founder of JD Recycling, is pioneering a unique approach to transforming scrap tires into functional and aesthetically pleasing furniture, interior decor, and natural playground items.
Speaking with THE WHISTLER in an exclusive interview, Olaide noted that the initiative, based in Lagos, aims to combat waste pollution and improve the lives of citizens by promoting recycling and job creation, particularly among youth and women.
Olaide who jettisoned her 10-year banking job to go into the world of transforming waste into wealth revealed that her journey into the world of recycling began officially in 2019, but the idea had been brewing long before.
How JD Recycling Was Birth
She said the inspiration came during her period of bed rest in 2016 when she found herself idle and pregnant yet pondering the environmental impact of plastic waste, especially discarded water bottles and sachets that littered the streets of Lagos.
She said, “Before 2016, I have been seeing bottled water and sachet water littered on the streets of Lagos, especially at parties and I thought there should be an alternative use instead of it ending up in the water canals and causing pollution and people losing lives and properties.
“During this bed rest, I googled the alternatives use of all these plastic wastes and I discovered tire recycling and fell in love with it and went ahead to carry out a deeper research on it and that was how I started with tire recycling.”
Empowering Women, Students And Environmental Sustainability
The founder of JD Recycling said she is not just recycling tires, but also committed to sharing her knowledge and empowering others. Olaide’s initiative focuses on teaching women and students about the benefits of recycling, both for the environment and their financial well-being.
She noted that her company in partnership with Access Bank was able to empower over 150 women in the recycling business.
“I was able to partner with Access Bank to train women, we have trained over 150 women so far.
“We train wives and mothers, whom we believe can influence their families and their environment, about recycling and its financial benefits.
“We train people with a minimum of 20,000 and above depending on the kind of product you want to learn and the duration.”
Recycling Is Lucrative With Limited Players
Speaking about the viability of recycling in Nigeria, Ayodele Olaide highlighted its potential, noting that the recycling industry is still in its early stages in the country. However; she stressed that the business is a very lucrative one with limited players in the recycling sector.
She said JD Recycling is committed to reducing pollution in Lagos State.
She said the organization collects discarded tires from the streets and also sources quality scrap tires from local vulcanizers and transforms them into various products, including centre tables, indoor and outdoor chairs, wall decor, and tables made with car engine parts.
Burning Tires Affects All
Olaide expressed deep concern about the practice of burning tires in Nigeria, which she said has adverse effects on the environment and the climate.
She emphasized that the lack of awareness about the consequences of this practice contributes to its prevalence. She believes that educating the public about the environmental impact of such activities is vital for the well-being of all citizens.
Lack Of Awareness A Challenge
She said JD Recycling has faced several challenges, primarily due to the limited awareness of recycled products in Nigeria.
“Our product is not a general product to say, people are not really aware of recycled products yet and most people who are aware and interested in it are people who love art and those who want to be partakers of saving the environment and the well-travelled and some don’t know the importance of recycling.”
Olaide expressed the need for greater public education and awareness campaigns to bridge this knowledge gap.
Government, Nigerians Must Be Involved In Recycling
She said the government needs to prioritize educating the public about the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – with a focus on schools and community engagement.
She said through collective efforts and awareness, Nigeria can make a positive impact on its environment and address the challenges of pollution and climate change.
Addressing Nigerians, Olaide encouraged active involvement in recycling and passing on these practices to future generations, adding that, “climate change is real and it affects all.”
Nigeria Can Generate More Jobs Through Waste Recycling — Entrepreneur is first published on The Whistler Newspaper