Unpredictable rainfall pattern is one of the major evidence of Climate Change. The next paragraphs will explain how this affects even the local recycling market. Recycling is everything that is involved in recovering otherwise waste materials and returning them into the manufacturing line to make either identical or other types of finished product. Recycling is simply a process where wastes are utilised as raw materials.
Recycling in Local Communities
In Nigeria, the Recycling ecosystem is only just emerging. The industry still has a lot of gaps and loops to be filled, and a lot of profit to be made. The market is highly fragmented; the upstream which includes major offtakers and recycling/manufacturing companies are more organised while the downstream is largely made up of informal waste collectors and a handful of social enterprises running various collection schemes.
Seasons, like supply & demand drive local recycling market in Nigeria. These mainly influences the collection and aggregation stage of the value chain. While the economics of key materials such as Metals and Aluminium cans are not exactly affected by dry / wet seasons, recyclables such as Cartons and PET are greatly influenced by rain or otherwise.
Here is how
Logistics: It is generally harder to work during the rainy seasons, especially when the work includes heavy lighting. Also, because the larger proportion of recycling collection is done on large dump sites, which are usually situated very far off main road, there is higher probability that roads will be in terrible shape, further increasing cost of logistics.
Recyclables are charged and valued per weight in kilogram. PET for example can range from #20/Kg to #40/kg depending on which collector you are dealing with, while carton range from #30-60/kg at the moment. Because recyclables are valued by weight, increased humidity, usually associated rains or wet season can inflate apparent weight of materials. In some cases of impromptu rainfall, rain beats materials while on transit to point of sales, creating a huge difference in true weight measured during collection and what the buyers will weigh. This automatically triggers deductions in weight by they buyers, which can be easily exaggerated and sometimes huge losses – (a discussion for another day).
You might want to experiment in your home; check the weight of 1 dry empty carton on noodle and compare the weight of same carton with a little water poured on it- weight can double or sometimes triple if wet.
Supply & Demand:
A lot of Freelance recycling collectors, who sell directly to off takers/recycling companies take breaks from materials most susceptible to rain such as cartons and papers during the May-October wet Season, because of reasons stated above (they are prone to losses).
Reduced supply and perceived scarcity of these materials, invariably triggers increase in price/value to incentivize continued collection operations.
So, ideally, prices of recyclable materials such as paper/cartons are higher during the rainy season. While in years before 2019, the price shatters by mid October, which signals the end of incessant rains, this year has been different.
It’s November and prices are only going higher because the rain didn’t stop as expected. This here is how Unpredictable rainfall patterns, an effect of climate change is affecting local recycling markets and market operators.
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