RecyclePoints Business Model
Waste recycling meets social impact
Social Impact Mission
Truth to be told, RecyclePoints impact mission relates to both “environmental” and “social” dimensions. On one hand, the firm aims to reduce incorrect waste disposal and give new life to recyclables, at least on a nation-wide scale. On the other hand, it promotes financial inclusion, particularly for unbanked demography (i.e. waste pickers). So far, RecyclePoints managed to recover roughly 2000+ tonnes/year of waste and supported over 200 waste-pickers.
Core Interventions, Beneficiaries, Clients
We can split RecyclePoints into different categories of interventions: (I) incentive-based recycling programs, (II) recycled raw materials and (III) additional waste-related services.
Within the first category (I), the firm offers diverse solutions, including:
- iRecycle Network, targeted at households;
- WastePicker Initiative, targeted at individuals;
- Schools Recycling, targeted at schools and academic institutions;
- Corporate Recycling, targeted at companies.
As seen, the enterprise engages with a variety of very diverse targets. Here, households, individuals and schools surely are its core beneficiaries. Conversely, large companies (joining the Corporate Recycling programs) and manufacturing/recycling plants (purchasing waste-related services and/or recycled raw materials) are RecyclePoints’ main clients.
Value For Beneficiaries
As you may guess, value creation radically changes depending on the target addressed. For instance, in exchange for the recyclables they collect, individuals and waste-pickers receive cash rewards. Not just economic gain, but also empowerment to later become micro-entrepreneurs. For low-income households and small-shop owners, iRecycle Network offers support in waste disposal and accessibility to (otherwise too expensive) household items. Finally, for school students RecyclePoints provides teaching and training needed to become environmentally responsible citizens.
Value For Clients
We previously mentioned the programs and services targeted at companies. But what’s in it for them? As most CSR-related initiatives, this program provides indeed organizations with a chance to fulfill their philanthropic missions, to reduce their environmental footprint and to showcase themselves as environmentally responsible entities. And the same principle goes for manufacturing plants purchasing reliable, secondary raw materials for production.
Key Activities + Key Resources
Given the complexity of RecyclePoints model, there is a wide range of activities and resources involved.
To begin with, waste collection allows RecyclePoints to haul materials to their Hubs. Initially it was conducted as door-to-door, but then the firm reduced the pick-up distances and introduced more drop-off points to reduce the economics of logistics. Beside that, sorting and shredding/baling recyclables are other crucial steps to sell the materials to manufacturing companies and recycling plants. Lastly, we could also add community engagement as critical to ensure comprehension and participation to the different recycling programs.
Let’s now look at strategic resources. As first, we cannot forget to mention the kiosks (local recyclable waste drop-off points) and CoSoHubs (community-based collection and sorting hubs). Also, database, IOT systems and phone app help the company coordinate pick-ups from different points around the city and staying in touch with the community. Finally, direct/indirect staff (including the so-called “waste-busters“) make all the magic work.
In order to effectively build a sector for waste recycling in Nigeria, building the right partnerships immediately became crucial. Thus, among RecyclePoints’ key partners we cannot forget to mention Recyclers Association of Nigeria, through which the company was able to drive the conversation amongst the various (public and private) stakeholders. Also, the firm developed its WastePickers program – including its cash rewards – thanks to world bank DFID joint venture GEMS4 project. Finally, other key partners include local authorities, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Mastercard Foundation.
Cost Structure + Revenue Engines
Given all the details discussed above, it gets easier to break down RecyclePoints’ cost structure, mostly comprised of personnel, logistics, IT development and operations. In terms of revenue model, the company has three main revenue engines. The first one is represented by direct sales of processed, recycled raw materials. The second one includes fees/sponsorships paid by those companies interested in joining the Corporate Recycling program for CSR. Finally, RecyclePoints sells extra waste-related services (i.e. consultations, training, waste audit) to organizations and public institutions.
As discussed, RecyclePoints is a Nigerian circular economy development social enterprise. The company leverages recyclable waste as a social currency to promote financial inclusion, foster social welfare and facilitate environmental sustainability.
Through its circular, multisided business model, RecyclePoints is changing indeed the way communities in Nigeria dispose their waste, leading to increased awareness, reduced environmental footprint and improved access to financial inclusion for low-income individuals.
Thanks to a combination of different incentive-based recycling programs, the company collects, stores and processes recyclables, selling them to large companies as input materials for production. This revenue stream, together with corporate sponsorships and additional waste-related services provide RecyclePoints with a robust revenue structure.
So, next time someone tells you that circular economy is not viable nor actionable, tell him/her to give RecyclePoints’ founder Chioma Ukonu a call!
About the Author
I’m Marco, an Italian business practitioner with previous study and work experiences across Australia, Netherlands, Spain and Vietnam. Having a background in economics and business management, since 2018 I’m happy to support social entrepreneurs and impact startuppers refine their businesses and scale social impact.
At Social Business Design, I mostly write about business design, financial modeling and growth hacking, sharing useful tools and insights gathered during 5+ years of on-field experiences.
Apart from talking about social business, I love hiking, reading, eating Asian food and taking pictures while I’m traveling. If interested, feel free to get in touch with me through my channels! 🙂
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