From waste to wealth: Imo recycling economy underway

You are currently viewing From waste to wealth: Imo recycling economy underway
Governor Uzodinma and his business partners

By Prince Eze Ugochukwu

For a long while through several administrations, Imo State had long been plagued by excessive plastic waste, littered in practically every nook and cranny of especially the state capital, Owerri metropolis.  But now, the state stands at the brink of a major  transformation. The state’s recycling economy is now on the rise, and as a result, a thriving ecosystem is poised to emerge.

The impressive journey towards this positive development began on 10 May 2024, when the state government and the Eastern Waste Management Company Limited joined forces by signing a Memorandum of Association. The event marked the start        of an ambitious commitment to convert environmental degradation into economic opportunities, turning waste into wealth.

Through collaborative efforts between the state government and its private sector partner, the Eastern Waste Management Company Limited, a comprehensive program was launched to unlock the full economic potential of waste recycling in the state.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said: “This partnership marks an exciting milestone in our journey towards a more sustainable and prosperous state. This collaboration will harness state-of-the-art recycling technologies and forward thinking strategies to recycle waste materials, transforming them into valuable resources that benefit both the environment and the economy.”

The immense volume of plastic waste in Imo state had for a long while posed a considerable health hazard, but it now presents an incredible opening for the growth of circular economy enterprises. By tapping into the potential of recycling and up-cycling, the government and its partner will explore uncharted revenue streams, generate employment opportunities, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Every aspect of the waste management value chain, from collection and sorting to recycling is primed for transformation. With strategic investments and collaborative partnership with Eastern Waste Management Company Limited, Imo state has the potential to become a centre for circular economy innovation.

The commitment of the state government to support the recycling industry is a crucial milestone towards unlocking this potential. By offering essential infrastructure, incentives and regulatory assistance, the government is fostering an enabling environment for the flourishing of circular economy businesses.

Inevitably, the state will witness the rise of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the recycling sector which will drive innovation and entrepreneurship. Local businesses will develop creative solutions to address plastic pollution. Many opportunities will be created for  individuals with limited formal education or skills. This includes plastic pickers, sorters, and aggregators who were often marginalized or excluded from formal employment prospects.

The Imo state’s recycling economy is poised to yield numerous benefits which include:

– The collection, sorting, and processing of tons of plastic waste, generating valuable raw materials for local industries.
– The proliferation of recycling facilities across the state, creating employment opportunities and stimulating economic growth.
– The development of innovative products, such as eco-friendly packaging and sustainable building materials, crafted from recycled materials.

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