This article is part of Precious Plastic, a One Army project tackling the plastic waste problem. You can learn morehere
Last month we've been to Lagos, Nigeria to set up a recycling workspace. As usual huge challenges, long days and lots fun. Here is a recap and watch out for a video coming out soon.
This project was particularly interesting for us because for the first time we wouldn't be starting from zero but instead support and upgrade an existing recycler, namely Victor. Victor was already collecting and recycling plastic as he could. We decided to upgrade him with a Shredder pro and a Sheetpress so he could recycle more plastic and grow his team.
As you can imagine it wasn't that easy.. we built the machines in France and shipped them to Nigeria which was already a massive logistical challenge (we actually had to go through Togo in order to get the machines into Nigeria). Once the delivery reached Lagos, Joseph and Yann flew over to help Victor and the team get set up.
First challenge was to get the machines into the building (no forklifts around), the whole team (plus families) helped out and managed with great effort and sweat from everyone. As we walked into the space we realized that the space provided was way too small to fit the Sheetpress, with great resentment we had to clear a wall (damn it).
Once the space was finally ready, we got on assembling the machines so we could start the training. However, it wasn't gonna be that easy. While preparing the space, we had struggled for 10 days to get electricity in the building. Nigeria has quite some issues when it comes to electricity. Generators are the norm there as there are blackouts all the time. Knowing this we had already ordered a generator months in advance. BUT when it arrived on site (late), it turned out it wasn't functioning. With only a few days left before leaving, we opted to rent another generator. Oh dear!
This time it all worked. The generator started, burping nasty black smoke and the much needed juice for the machines. The machines went on. The Shredder shredded. The Sheetpress sheeted :) With only one day left we trained the local team and taught them how to transform local plastic waste into sheets. For as much time as we budget in for training it always turns out to be too little. Big lesson there.
To wrap everything up Victor organized an event with local businesses to showcase the recycled sheets and find clients to buy them.
....and a few weeks later Victor sent us these nice pics and videos of beautiful sheets coming out of Lagos, Nigeria.