Dow and Empower aim to increase local job creation both for waste pickers and in waste management facilities in Nigeria

Dow & others launch feasibility study to examine plastics circularity in Nigeria

DOW and Empower, a Norwegian circular platform company which uses blockchain technology to track plastics waste, have launched a new study as part of an ongoing partnership, which will examine the feasibility of advancing fully circular value chains in Nigeria to help close the loop on plastics waste.

The study, which will be part funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), will focus on the implementation of a scalable digital waste collection and recycling business model in Lagos, Nigeria. The findings will inform the long-term ambition of the partnership which is to digitize the local collection points, recyclers, and waste streams, to ensure transparency and reliability of the process of tracking recyclable plastics waste and converting it into new sustainable packaging.

The Empower digital platform – which uses blockchain technology to ensure the seamless tracking and monetization of plastics waste – provides cost-efficient collection of plastics waste, sorting at source, and local job creation both for waste pickers in the community and in waste management facilities. The study will identify opportunities to further incentivize the expansion of decentralized sustainable waste management systems, that is communities managing collection, segregation and processing their waste locally, in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Dow and Empower have been working together in Nigeria since 2020 to map and crowdsource the collection and sorting of plastic water sachets, which is a significant environmental problem across West Africa. The findings of the new study will assist in scaling up Project ReflexNG – a water sachet recycling programme Dow launched in Nigeria last year.

The project aims to recycle over 300 million sachets, which would otherwise end up in the environment or landfill, into new applications. To date, the program has provided an additional source of income for over 8 000 subscribers to the programme’s phone app which enables the coordination of collection and sorting of plastics waste around the city, over 200 waste pickers and has recovered almost 600 tons of plastic waste in total.

This project is aligned to Dow’s global STOP THE WASTE sustainability target which will enable the collection, reuse or recycling of one million metric tons of plastic globally by 2030.