Lafarge’s Geocycle: Making a Zero Waste Future a Reality in Nigeria

The growing population and increased pace of urbanization in Nigeria are pushing waste management to the forefront of environmental challenges in the country. Approximately 58 million tons of waste is generated annually in Nigeria, of which about 90% are dumped at various sites, resulting in serious environmental impacts.  

It is estimated that only 13.5% of today’s waste is recycled and 5.5% is composted. The impact of unsustainable management of industrial, agricultural and municipal solid waste (MSW), degrades the environment and presents a risk to public health. 

While the prospects of a zero waste future may look utopian in the light of the above scenario, novel waste management solutions that ensure efficient use of the value inherent in waste are the need of the hour.

Rethinking waste challenges and providing innovative solutions to them is the core business of Geocycle Nigeria. Geocycle Nigeria, launched in 2018 is readily offering innovative solutions toward creating a zero-waste future in Nigeria and offers highly specialized waste management services and benefits from its global footprint as well as its solid financial position. 

“We provide customized, future-oriented waste management solutions by leveraging our technological expertise, highly skilled employees, standardized systems and processes. This enables us to recover energy and recycle minerals from waste, leaving no residue,” says Daniel Adedokun, Head of Geocycle Nigeria. 

Geocycle is the leading provider of industrial, agricultural and municipal waste management services worldwide. The company applies proven technology of ‘co-processing’ and utilizes existing facilities in the cement industry to resolve waste challenges sustainably. Geocycle Nigeria manages more than 80,000 tons of waste annually, thus making a tangible contribution to bringing society a step closer to a zero waste future.   

Since its launch in 2018, Geocycle has pioneered the co-processing of waste materials in cement kilns and has developed innovative and tailored industrial and municipal waste management solutions for the handling of waste in the country. “Our ambition is to become the biggest sector contributor to sustainable production and waste management in Nigeria. As our business grows, we contribute to cleaning our cities, maintaining the health of Nigerians and creating more jobs,” Adedokun stated.

According to Adedokun “the key to the Geocycle approach is co-processing – a globally recognized technology through which waste is treated in energy-intensive industries such as cement. During co-processing, the mineral part of the waste replaces primary mineral materials such as limestone, clay or iron and the combustible parts provide the energy needed for cement manufacturing. As a result, 100% of the waste input is recycled and recovered without producing any residue.” 

Before it can be safely co-processed, the waste generally needs to undergo a preparation process i.e., pre-processing, so that the resulting product complies with the technical specifications of cement production and guarantees that environmental standards are met. 

“The pre-processing technology we use before co-processing makes us unique. Depending on the particular situation, we can apply the most suitable technology, be it sorting, shredding or drying, for all of which we have set up state-of-the-art in-house facilities,” affirms Adedokun, highlighting the company’s goal to significantly increase its waste processing capabilities to further advance its zero waste ambitions.

“We work with many municipalities and companies in the country, helping them rethink waste challenges, providing solutions that contribute to a regenerative, circular economy. What sets us apart from many other waste management companies is that we address the most pressing waste concerns impacting our society today – plastic pollution, marine littering, open burning of agricultural residue- finding innovative and scalable solutions which are the best fit,” he added. 

The company has continued to forge alliances that will guarantee the long-term availability of renewable materials following the circular economy model. It also partnered with SMEs, and notable Pharmaceutical companies, and used tyres pyrolysis companies in the efforts to support them in efficiently managing their wastes.  

Sequel to the regulatory approval from the Department of Petroleum Resources to offer waste management services to the Oil and Gas industries, a contract was signed with a leading Oil and Gas company to manage its waste incinerated ash from the oil fields in a sustainable manner. 

According to him, the company has also received regulatory approval from the Department of Petroleum Resources to offer waste management services to the oil industries and has successfully co-processed waste from the oil industry at the Ewekoro plant. 

Its revolutionary partnership with the company to recycle ash/secondary waste generated from treated drilling and mud cuttings through the use of its co-processing technology for waste management is one of the major highlights of its commitment to resource efficiency. The secondary waste materials are sourced from stored treated drill cuttings following the thermal desorption process and incinerated ash from filter cake/wax and municipal solid waste. 

Its existing partnership with the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) of Nigeria, made up of 19 FMCGs is tackling the quantities of waste that end up in landfills by providing eco-friendly waste management solutions to members of the alliance. 

In less than four years, Geocycle Nigeria has already obtained a wide base of clients in all of the sectors mentioned above, including Nestle; a global giant in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industrial sector. These clients have wide-ranging waste management needs, and the company’s teams offer them its unique solution.

The company has invested over 10 million Swiss Franc in alternative fuel projects over the past 4 years through facilities, which are being utilized to mop up societal waste to positively impact the environment. In 2020, it commissioned a new waste treatment and co-processing facility at its Ewekoro plant designed to allow shredding and blending of various solid waste before they are co-processed in the cement kiln.

Geocycle is Nigeria’s first full-fledged professional waste management service provider, handling wastes from different sectors in a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Geocycle’s parent company, Lafarge Africa is one of Nigeria’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of cement and mineral components. The company operates 4 manufacturing plants spread across Sagamu & Ewekoro (South West), Ashaka (North) and Mfamosing (South). Lafarge Africa is a subsidiary of Holcim Group. Holcim Group is the world’s leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions. The Group is committed to building progress for people and the planet in line with the four pillars of its sustainability strategy including Climate and Energy, Circular Economy, Environment and Community. The Group holds majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents and employs almost 90,000 people.