Transforming Waste Into Opportunity: Wecyclers Recycles in Lagos, Nigeria


Join us for a discussion with Peter Piot and Olawale Adebiyi, Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers and the recipient of the King Baudouin Foundation’s 2019 African Development Prize.

Lagos, Nigeria is the largest and fastest growing city on the African continent. With no less than 20 million people, its greater metropolitan area faces a myriad of social and economic problems, including a waste crisis due to a poor waste management infrastructure that sees 14,000 tons of waste generated daily. This situation greatly affects people living in low-income communities, who have little to no access to waste collection services. It is in that context that Wecyclers was founded as a social enterprise in 2012, to address the challenge of urban waste in Lagos, through convenient recycling services that give households a chance to generate value from their waste.


About the speaker

Olawale Adebiyi is the Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers Corporation. He graduated from Kings College Secondary School Lagos, and then relocated to the United States to pursue his tertiary degrees. Mr. Adebiyi holds an MBA from Indiana University, Kelly School of Business, and holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. While pursuing his Master's degree in Chemical Engineering, he was able to work on groundbreaking research on Hydrogen Production utilizing solar energy, and co-authored several patents and publications in the renewable energy field.

Between 2006 and 2016, Mr. Adebiyi worked for the largest steel maker in the United States, Nucor Steel. During his time at Nucor Steel, Mr. Adebiyi worked on several projects such as a green field blast furnace construction project, where Mr. Adebiyi was selected to lead the efforts of coal supplier selection and coal blend testing for the $3 billion greenfield project.

Mr. Adebiyi also worked as the production supervisor for the company's $700 million greenfield Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) project, which is the largest of its kind in the world. While working on the DRI project, Mr. Adebiyi was involved in every aspect, ranging from, raw material (iron ore and natural gas) acquisition, construction engineering, talent recruitment, plant commissioning, operations and maintenance. Mr. Adebiyi joined Wecyclers in 2016 as the Chief Operating Officer, and focused on streamlining operations and installing a world class team and structure to help tool the company for rapid growth. In September 2017, Mr Adebiyi was announced as the new Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers, after the C.E.O. and Founder, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola joined Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency.     


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