This Nigerian clean-tech startup helps users conveniently recycle their waste

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Nigerian clean-tech startup Scrapays is fusing recycling, technology and finance to help businesses and households sell off their recyclable waste in a convenient manner and at premium prices.

Launched in 2019 by Tope Sulaimon, Boluwatife Arewa and Olumide Ogunleye as recycling service InCycle, Scrapays assumed its current identify while participating in the Founder Institute accelerator programme.

The startup uses USSD, mobile app, web app and Internet of Things (IoT) tech to facilitate the decentralised recovery of recyclable waste. Waste producers, be they individuals or enterprises, are able to optimise their recyclable disposal process by having localised collectors remove such waste, saving them time and helping them earn money from recycling.

“With over 85 per cent of recyclable materials produced not recovered, waste generation volume is expected to quadruple over the next three decades,” Sulaimon told Disrupt Africa. 

“The collection deficit is growing astronomically and correspondingly increasing the market size. Nigeria has the fastest growing waste production rate in Sub-Saharan Africa and existing recovery models in the market focus only on producer compensation, and this has not been self-propagating across income classes.”

Scrapays looks to fill this gap, allowing its users to decide when they want to dispose of waste and get rewarded in cash. It also allows people to start collection businesses by hosting a collection outlet or by becoming an independent collector.  All of this is made possible via its suite of tech products.

“The decentralized recovery network follows an architecture that allows individuals to list their open space as a Recyclable Hosting Location – call it “AirBnB for recyclables”,” said Sulaimon. 

“This hosting location is managed by vendors, and our collectors are the mobile riders with their devices, who are connected to producers for pickup and to vendors for drop off within their mapped zone – call this “Uber for recyclables”.”

Combining the Airbnb and Uber models, the bootstrapped Scrapays has already recovered over 150,000 kilogrammes of materials, and generated over US$60,000 in revenue from direct sales of the recovered items. This business model will change over time, said Sulaimon.

“In the next 24-36 months we would have gotten considerable traffic and will transition to a commission model from the traffic we generate to our partners, while providing added services,” he said.

Geographic expansion is also on the horizon.

“The entire Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are target markets for us, and we are looking at these places for expansion,” said Sulaimon.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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