“One Rubbish at a Time”! Meet WeCyclers Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola

In 2012, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola Co-founded WeCyclers, a Waste Management Company based in Lagos, Nigeria.

WeCyclers gives households a chance to capture value from their waste while providing a reliable supply of materials to the local recycling industry.

It collects recyclable waste, including plastic bottles, plastic bags, and aluminum cans, at the household level using low-cost bicycle-powered collection vehicles called “wecycles”.

Bilikiss was born in Lagos and attended Supreme Education Foundation secondary school. She entered the University of Lagos, but she left after a year to complete her studies in America. She graduated from Fisk University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, and then went to Vanderbilt University where she earned a Master’s degree.

She worked for 5 years as a software engineer at IBM developing social networking software that was used by thousands, primarily at Fortune 500 companies.

She was accepted to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

It was while she was at MIT, where she specialized in Waste, that she got the idea.

She shared the idea the next time she was in Nigeria, and it was hugely accepted.

WeCyclers was created out of a passion to solve a monumental problem in Nigeria – poor waste management. It is doing this one rubbish at a time, while empowering community youths and households in the process.

The wecycles are designed and manufactured locally and are operated by youth from local communities. The wecycle operators cover specific neighborhood collection routes to collect material from households. Once the rubbish is sorted then her company sends back SMS messages to the person who supplied the rubbish. The SMS message tells that person about points they have earned from the rubbish they donated.

In 2015, WeCyclers won the won $55,000 from the #PitchForLagos event organized by Steve Case Foundation.

She has also won the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2013 and is a 2014 Sustainia Award Winner.

Bilikiss was also one of the 22 speakers at the TEDLagos Ideas Search 2017 which held on February 11 2017.

Credit: Bella Naija

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