While the principle of recycling is universal, no one region of the globe
does it like the others. Here is a brief continent-by-continent overview of
recycling practices, records and philosophies.
Recycling In Africa
In 2050, a quarter of the world's population will be African. This soaring
demographic growth has a direct consequence: a similarly unbridled increase in
the volume of waste produced.
But the lack of government money to introduce effective collection and
recycling systems means that the vast majority of countries on the continent are
forced to dump these materials in public or illegal landfill sites, which today
account for over 4% of global CO2 emissions.
To combat this scourge, and notably the plague of plastic waste, many
recycling companies are innovating constantly. In Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali,
plastic bags are collected by rag merchants, then turned into furniture,
clothing or road construction materials by increasingly inventive small
businesses. In Nigeria, a new initiative combining public and private funding
will this year streamline the existing networks of rag merchants in the state of
Ogun to collect household waste at source and produce electricity or
bio-fertiliser. A first in the history of a continent which has the ideas but
not yet the funds and the facilities to put them into practice.