Lafarge’s Geocycle: Rethinking Waste Through Circular Economy

The sustainable management of increasing quantities of waste such as municipal solid wastes (MSW), agricultural waste, industrial waste and construction demolition waste (CDW), is a global challenge. 

In many countries, the management of post-harvest agricultural residues is a major challenge. The residues which can neither be fed to cattle nor suitably used by agricultural producers are often burnt in the open. This practice contributes to particulate pollution which can pose a great risk to the environment and the health of the community.
For industries, dealing with waste can be costly, time-consuming and diversion from their main business. Waste can create a business risk and operational liability.

Also growing municipal waste poses environmental, social and economic challenges for municipalities. They often lack access to adequate infrastructure to effectively manage waste. Existing ways of managing municipal waste create long-term liabilities for communities. Municipalities, therefore, require smarter, more sustainable and economically feasible answers to solve their waste challenges.  

As the leading provider of industrial, agricultural and municipal waste management services worldwide, Geocycle Nigeria is leading the way in providing solutions that contribute to a regenerative circular economy and achieve a more resource-efficient future. 

“We believe that traditional systems of linear consumption and waste disposal are no longer relevant. Across all sectors of the economy, there is a need to embrace more circular thinking. The world requires a fresh approach to managing waste,” says Daniel Adedokun, Head of Geocycle Nigeria. 

“We are the most driven, disruptively thinking and energized solution provider for a circular economy. We collaborate with our stakeholders to find the most suitable solution for their waste, turning it into a circular resource and diverting it from landfills. Our approach ensures the complete recycling of minerals and recovery of energy inherent in waste. This contributes to a closed loop circular economy and helps to achieve a more resource efficient future,” Adedokun added. 
The company applies proven technology of ‘co-processing’ and utilizes existing facilities in the cement industry to resolve waste challenges sustainably. Co-processing contributes to a more circular economy, as opposed to a traditional linear economy, and provides a practical, cost-effective and environmentally preferred alternative to landfills and traditional incineration.

According to him, ‘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.’ 

The company’s ambition is to become the biggest sector contributor to sustainable production and waste management in Nigeria. Geocycle 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. The company’s approach ensures that the management of waste also contributes to the prosperity and wellbeing of local communities, and is sustainable in terms of the environment and biodiversity. 

The co-processing solution offered by Geocycle acts as a safe and sustainable option for handling unmanageable biomass. Apart from being an ecologically suitable solution, co-processing biomass in Geocycle facilities leads to the creation of local jobs during harvesting and transporting. Moreover, sourcing biomass from farmers provides them with an alternative source of livelihood thereby contributing to the prosperity of communities.

“Our key focus has been on co-processing of biomass waste which not only helps minimize our carbon footprint but also is a key driver for clean and prosperous local communities. We source local agriculture residues which cannot be otherwise managed and also help create alternative livelihood sources. All activities centring on collecting, cleaning, transporting and treating biomass waste continued to sustain roughly 4,000 jobs in the various local communities with a large volume of biomass supplied to the plants at Ewekoro, Sagamu and Ashaka,” he noted. 

Since its launch in 2018, Geocycle has continued to forge alliances that 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 Adedokun, 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 ends 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 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.