The indifference of Nigerians Towards Recycling – The Need for a Change in Attitude

It is no secret that Nigerians have an indifference towards recycling. This is evident in the high levels of waste that are generated daily, with much of it ending up in landfill sites.

Before we dive deeper, what is Recycling?

Recycling is a process of making new materials from discarded old ones. It is the process of converting waste material into new products or raw materials. Mostly considered as the final step in the waste disposal process, where we recover and reuse rather than discard used materials. 

What is recycling

What is the Importance of Recycling?

The consequences of not practising recycling and proper waste disposal are dire for our environment and our economy – lack of clean drinking water, poor air quality, and a decrease in the value of real estate that has a view of a polluted stream or river. Recycling also helps create passive income, livelihood, and quality of life, amongst other benefits.

The need for a change in attitude is clear, so why do Nigerians remain indifferent to Recycling?

The indifference of Nigerians towards recycling is a pressing environmental issue. It is estimated that only about 10% of Nigerians recycle their waste, despite the country’s high levels of poverty and environmental degradation

Firstly, recycling is often seen as a time-consuming and inconvenient process. It is often easier and quicker to dispose of waste in the bin rather than sorting it into different recycling categories. 

Secondly, there needs to be more awareness around the benefits of recycling. Many people are unaware of how recycling can help to reduce pollution and conserve natural resources.

Finally, there needs to be more infrastructure in place to support recycling. In many parts of Nigeria, there are no recycling facilities available. This means that even if people want to recycle, they often have no way of doing so.

Although there is one more unofficial reason which is that Nigerians love chaos & violence. Now back to the matter at hand. 

Let’s take a look at this scenario: 

“Commuters going to and fro work and other locations buy snacks at kiosks to quench their hunger & thirst, but there is no waste bin in sight, so they just throw it at the most inconspicuous location they can find “

At first, littering might be off-putting to them but over time, not having a way to properly dispose of their waste, coupled with the lack of proper environmental education, eventually becomes indifference. 

Many Nigerians are simply unaware of the benefits of recycling or of the environmental problems that arise from not recycling.

How to Encourage People to Recycle?

  • One of the most essential things that can be done to change this is to increase education and awareness about recycling. This can be done through educational campaigns, which should target both adults and children.
  • It is also important to make recycling more convenient for people. This can be done by providing more recycling bins in public places. Recycling bins that are designed for and can be identified by people from all economic standing.
  • The government also has a role to play in changing attitudes towards recycling. The government should provide financial incentives for people to recycle or partner with private organisations like Scrapays with infrastructures in place to drive this change.
  • Quick waste pick-up is also one of the ways to encourage recycling, especially in high waste-producing locations. When the non-recyclable waste is picked up on time, waste bins are free & recycling bins are noticed, which compels them to properly dispose of their waste the appropriate way & eventually recycle. 
  • Take advantage of special days like “ World Recycling Day ” to organise events that will further sensitise people on the importance of Recycling.


With these few points of ours, It is clear that the current apathy towards recycling is a significant problem. If we are to reduce the amount of waste generated and protect our environment, then more Nigerians must start to take recycling seriously, and infrastructure needs to be put in place to make this a seamless activity. 

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