Experts urge SMEs to embrace eco-friendly manufacturing, upcycling – Guardian Nigeria

Micro, small and medium-sized businesses have been urged to embrace eco-friendly manufacturing practices and upcycling to reduce input costs.
Speaking at a one-day fair to mark this year’s World Environmental Week held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), by the university’s Green Eco Hub, the Hub’s coordinator and head, quality control, waste management, UNILAG, Dr Abdulganiyu Adelopo, said he was pleased the group achieved its recycling milestones and launched the digital waste system.
Reiterating the importance of recycling, he said it helps to reduce costs and waste in manufacturing and urged that industries embrace sustainability and ecologically-friendly production. He also revealed that in addition to saving the environment, jobs have been created for many people in the sector.
Lending her voice to the cause, Co-founder/Managing Director, Kazih Kits Limited, Dr Chinedu Azih, who was one of the exhibitors at the fair, said for many industries, now is a period of waste to wealth.
“Gone are the days when we can say we know nothing about sustainability, we all know how important waste reduction is in industrial production. Even more so these days when virgin raw materials are very expensive to come by, more and more small businesses must embrace recycled materials for production. Go around the hall and see beautiful footwear and furniture made from old tyres and fashion items made from plastics by different talented exhibitors. This is the future of manufacturing in Nigeria,” she said.
Azih, who works in the textile industry and produces uniforms, revealed that clothes take many years to decompose and the need to cut production costs while safeguarding the environment, led her to explore textile waste. “This has been beneficial to me because embracing recycling has naturally put me ahead of others. Also, it helps to reduce costs in future productions which is very important these days.”
Israel Okeyinka of Exousia Repurpose Enterprise stressed that more business owners should embrace upcycling and convert waste materials into sustainable products to reduce the need for virgin materials. Okeyinka, who uses old tyres to make furniture, said they convert waste materials into pre-existing furniture and interior models. “Demand however is a bit low but we are working on improving this with the help of the Lagos State government and the media.”
Creative Director at the Waste Museum in Ibadan, Jumoke Olowo-Waste, said her mission is to create a sustainable world and encourage eco-friendly production by converting waste into functional and durable products. “Waste is a resource that can be converted into wealth. We gather waste from sources, either through pickup or delivery and partner with households on this. At our waste-for-skills summer camp, children in schools bring waste and are taught hand skills and how to start small businesses,” she said.

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