Geographies in Depth

An entrepreneur in Nigeria has found value from used car tyres

A man arranges newly moulded rubber interlocking tiles manufactured from recycled car tyres at the Freetown waste management recycle factory in Ibadan, Nigeria. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

A worker arranges tiles that have been made from recycled car tyres, and they will be sold to people who may need them. Image: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja - RC2MRP9I8M8I

Fikayo Owoeye
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Geographies in Depth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how SDG 08: Decent Work and Economic Growth is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

SDG 08: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Entrepreneur Ifedolapo Runsewe has set up Freetown Waste Management Recycle, an industrial plant dedicated to transforming old tyres.
  • The company transforms old tyres into high-demand goods such as paving bricks and floor tiles.
  • This has proven to be a safe and valuable method of waste management in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, a country heavily reliant on revenues from its oil exports, entrepreneur Ifedolapo Runsewe has identified another type of black gold: used car tyres.

She has set up Freetown Waste Management Recycle, an industrial plant dedicated to transforming old tyres into paving bricks, floor tiles and other goods that are in high demand in Africa's most populous nation.

"Creating something new from something that will otherwise be lying somewhere as waste was part of the motivation," Runsewe told Reuters at her factory in the city of Ibadan in southwest Nigeria.

Have you read?

"We are able to create an entire value chain around the tyres," she said, holding a paving brick that is one of the company's best-selling products.

Waste management in Nigeria is patchy at best. In villages, towns and cities, piles of waste are a common sight, and residents often burn them at night for lack of a safer method of disposal. Tyres are routinely dumped and abandoned.

A worker offloads used car tyres from a cargo tricycle in preparation for recycling at the Freetown waste management recycle factory in Ibadan, Nigeria.
A worker offloads used car tyres which will be recycled. Image: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
Crumb rubber is seen during recycling of used car tyres at the Freetown waste management recycle factory in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Tons of crumb rubber are left during the recycling of used car tyres. Image: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
A man works on the recycling line of used car tyres at the Freetown waste management recycle factory in Ibadan, Nigeria.
A man works on the recycling line, supporting the process and operations. Image: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
 Men work on the recycling line of used car tyres at the Freetown waste management recycle factory in Ibadan, Nigeria September 17, 2021.
Men work together to support the operations of recycling the car tyres. Image: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

Freetown relies on scavengers who collect old tyres from dumping grounds. They are paid 70 to 100 naira ($0.17-$0.24) per tyre.

Some tyres are also supplied directly by mechanics, like Akeem Rasaq, who is delighted to have found a place where he can make some money from old tyres.

"Most of the tyres end up in public drainage clogging up the drain, but things have changed," he said at his roadside workshop.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing to champion social innovation?

Freetown started operations in 2020 with just four employees, and growth has been so rapid the workforce has jumped to 128. So far, more than 100,000 tyres have been recycled into everything from speed bumps to soft paving for playgrounds.

"It is important to support anybody that recycles in our country," said Houssam Azem, founder of the Lagos Jet Ski Riders Club, which has purchased paving bricks from Freetown for a children's play area.

"Taking tyres, which is an environmental nuisance, and turning them into what children can play on, I think it is a win-win for everybody."

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Geographies in DepthSocial InnovationArts and Culture
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

The Horn of Africa's deep groundwater could be a game-changer for drought resilience

Bradley Hiller, Jude Cobbing and Andrew Harper

May 16, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum