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A technology-driven way to pay low-income people in exchange for their wastes.

Photo of Muhammad Abdullahi

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eTrash2Cash, is a technology-driven social enterprise that uses a web and mobile app platforms to register and collect major types of wastes from low-income people in Kano State of Nigeria, and gives them incentives in exchange for their wastes, based on the volume of the wastes they deposit, through their mobile money accounts.

Registered low income households are highly encouraged to use their earned cash incentives to support girl child education in the region. 

eTrash2Cash sorts, processes and makes reusable products from these wastes, e.g food wastes converted into organic compost for use by the smallholder Nigerian farmer, paper wastes recycled into tissue papers for use by low-income community members and plastic wastes made into termite-resistant plastic lumbers for the making of benches, desks and chairs for school children. 

Explain your idea

About 68% of the approximately 10, 000 metric tons of wastes (that could be reused through collection and recycling) is being generated and wasted away daily in Kano State of Nigeria (likewise, in major cities in the country), with more than 13 million people. Yet, more than 3.5 million of these people are extremely poor or low income women, whose more than 50% of school-age girls do not get primary basic education at the moment, one of such reasons is their economically-disadvantaged background and conditions. More worrisome is the fact that more than 80 million ordinary Nigerians earn and live on less than $1 per day, unemployment rate is at the peak, which is one of the causative agents of violence, and civil unrest in these communities. eTrash2Cash uses technology (web and mobile app) to collect major type of wastes (food, plastics, papers) from these low income women (households) and gives them cash incentives based on the volume of their wastes, through their mobile bank accounts, which they would use to support the education of their girl children. eTrash2Cash is a social enterprise that will use 50 hired mobile waste managers to register these low income households and women on its portal, and use tricycles (operated by the hired mobile waste managers) to collect wastes from the door steps of every household to a central site or location, which it would use to make reusable materials from, e.g organic compost from food wastes, tissue papers from paper wastes, plastic lumbers from plastic wastes. All wastes records (volumes) collected and award of cash incentives would be managed online using web and mobile apps, incentives earned by women or households would be used to support girl child education in the region.

Who Benefits?

Our target beneficiaries are: 1. Extremely poor or low income households and women in Kano, Nigeria This target group are housewives and widows, with limited educational background if any, live in extended families, live "from hand to mouth", they are extremely poor or low income, earn and live on less than $1 per day. They benefit by earning cash incentives from their wastes. 1000 of this group will benefit directly from the first phase of our project. 2. School-age girl children This group transcend from our first target group. Age range 6-14, who are not attending any school due to economic hardship or low income status. 1000 of girl children of the first target group of low income women would attend basic primary education, supported by the incentives earned from their household`s wastes. 3. Young people benefit from getting jobs 4. Nigeria benefits from reduction in unemployment and peace promotion. 5. The world benefits from efforts towards environmental sustainability.

How is your idea unique?

Our work is unique, and challenges the status quo, because: We are leveraging on technology to manage the work, all wastes records (volumes) collected and award of cash incentives would be managed online using web and mobile apps. 2. We are concerned about girl child education, which we believe is a way to advance peace and prosperity, incentives earned would be used to support girl child education in the region. 3. Direct impacts on food security and local economy, all wastes collected are transformed into reusable products e.g organic compost for the smallholder Nigerian farmers. 4. High job creation, young people are recruited to register and collect wastes from registered households and women. Our competitors are: 1. Chanja Datti, Abuja 2. We Cyclers, Lagos 3. Recycle Points, Lagos

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

eTrash2Cash is a social enterprise that kicked off in January, 2016 and is managed by a team of six young Nigerians, two of whom have extensive and long time experience in waste management and recycling. It is based in Kano, Nigeria. Facebook Page: Twitter: @e_Trash2Cash Team members have the required expertise to run the social enterprise and are committed to it fully. Team LinkedIn Profiles: Muhammad: Chiroma: Imran: Habib: Isma`eel: We have an existing partnerships with organisations, that would support our work to ensure success and sustainability. They are: 1. The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in Kano, Nigeria This is our direct partner with an existing relationship already. They help and support our team in the development and management of the web and mobile app sites that would be used for seamless wastes collection recording, tracking and as well, incentives awarding through mobile banking systems. They are committed fully. 2. Rumbu Industries, Kano, Nigeria This is our lead production partner. We collect wastes directly from households and low income women, we sort some of the wastes (paper, plastics) and transmits it to Rumbu Industries, which is responsible for recycling and production of reusable materials, like, plastic lumbers and tissue papers. They are committed to this fully also.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Muhammad, thanks for contributing! Couple of quick questions how much trash do you currently touch? Can you clarify, which parts of the business you run and which parts are done through partnership, i.e. collection, recycling, non-recycling waste disposal, technology platform for cash transfer (if applicable)?

Photo of Muhammad Abdullahi

Hello Ashley,

Many thanks for your comment.

Currently, we have 174 registered low-income individuals and households, from whom we touch an average of 2, 500 kg units of wastes on a weekly basis.
eTrash2Cash does and manages completely the wastes collection from the households, sorting of the wastes, wastes crushing and the web and mobile app technology for cash transfer (soon to be launched).
Only recycling of the wastes is being done through partnerships with local waste management firms.

If you need more information, do not hesitate to reach out to me please.

Thank you!

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