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Municipal solid wastes re-use and recycling have multiple socioeconomic and environmental benefits that have not been adequately examined in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. The objectives of this research are to: examine the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of waste management entrepreneurs; identify the sources and destinations of recyclable municipal solid waste; analyse the quantity of waste materials (metal scraps, plastics and cans) recovered, reused and transported for recycling; identify the type of uses recyclable materials are put into in the study area; and examine the socioeconomic benefit of waste re-use and recycling. A total of 252 scrap metal/plastic collectors, scavengers and artisanal recyclers‘ were studied using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Tables, percentages, charts and multiple linear regression techniques were used for the analysis. The results showed that majority of the waste collectors within the twelve localities of Zaria were less than 20 years old. Generally, the low educational level of the respondents indicates that formal educational qualification is not a major determinant of being an actor in this type of business. Cans and aluminium, scrap metal, assorted plastics, are the major materials that attract waste entrepreneurs in Zaria. about 71.8% of waste collectors collect waste from multiple sources and majority of the waste actors about 61.5% collect less than 100 kg of valuable waste materials every week. Products produced by artisanal recyclers from cans and scrap Aluminium includes majorly pots and frying pan. A relatively high proportion (56.7%) of plastic collectors disposes the assorted plastics to those involved in reuse like, bottling of locally made drinks (Zobo and Kunu), traditional herbs and honey. The average monthly income for about 43.3% was above N16, 000. 00 which is quite better compared with the Nigerian minimum wage standard. Also all the respondents claimed that no harmful solid substances were released into the environment as a result of artisanal recycling activity. Further, about 30% of waste management entrepreneurs are employers of labour, with 13.5% having more than 6 employees. The multiple regression analysis revealed that the number of people employed in waste business and quantity of waste collected have significant impact on their income with coefficients of 0.343 and 0.360 respectively, while the coefficient of multiple determination (R2) indicate a total variation of 42.5% at 5% level of significance. However, challenges militating against waste recycling in Zaria include lack of a functional recycling plant; price fluctuation and the cost of conveying recyclables to recycling plants outside the study area among others.

It is concluded that municipal solid waste re-use and recycling activities contribute more to waste management than the government owned agencies in the study area. Their activities in sustainable waste management should be incorporated into the state environmental protection agency institutional framework.



Title page                                                                                                                                i

Declaration                                                                                                                                       ii

Certification                                                                                                                                     iii

Dedication                                                                                                                                       iv

Acknowledgement                                                                                                                           v

Abstract                                                                                                                                          vii

Table of contents                                                                                                                             ix

List of Tables                                                                                                                                 xiii

List of Figures                                                                                                                               xiv


List of Plates                                                                                                                           xv

CHAPTER ONE:INTRODUCTION                                                                      

1.1 Background to the study                                                                                                   1

1.2 Statement of the research problem                                                                                   7

1.3 Study aim and objectives                                                                                                 10

1.4 Justification for the study                                                                                                 11

1.5 Scope and delimitation of the study                                                                                 12


2.1 Conceptual issues                                                                                                             13

2.1.1 Scavenging13

2.1.2 Re-use13

2.1.3 Recycling14

2.2 Conceptual framework                                                                       14

2.3 Literature review                                                                                                               17


2.3.1 Waste management                                                                                                        17

2.3.2 Scavenging activities                                                                                                     25

2.3.3 Recycling activities                                                                                                        28

2.3.4 Re-use activities                                                                                                             31

2.3.5 Laws/regulations on solid waste management in Nigeria                                              32

2.3.6 Waste management practices                                                                                         35

2.3.7 Integrated solid waste management approach                                                               36

2.3.8 Benefits from ISWM                                                                                                      39

2.3.9 Constraints to effectiveISWM                                                                                       41

2.3.10 Sustainable waste management                                                                                    43

CHAPTER THREE: THE STUDY AREA AND METHODOLOGY                                            

3.1 Background of the study area                                                                                           46

3.1.1 Location                                                                                                                         46

3.1.2 The physical features of Zaria                                                                                        48 Weather and climate                                                                                                    48 Geology of Zaria                                                                                                          49 Drainage System                                                                                                         50 Soil                                                                                                                              50 Vegetation                                                                                                                  51

3.1.3 Population                                                                                                                      52

3.1.4Urban structure of Zaria                                                                                               53

3.1.5 Socio-cultural and economic characteristics                                                                 55

3.2 Methodology                                                                                                                    56

3.2.1 Types of data required                                                                                                   56

3.2.2 Sources of data                                                                                                               57 Primary source of data                                                                                                57 Secondary source of data                                                                                           58

3.2.3 Sampling technique and sample size                                                                             58

3.2.4 Techniques of data analysis                                                                                           59


4.1 Socio-economic and Demographic Characteristics of Respondents                                61

4.1.1 Age of respondents                                                                                                        61

4.1.2 Sex of respondents                                                                                                        62

4.1.3 Religion of respondents                                                                                                 62

4.1.4 Ethnic group of respondents                                                                                         62

4.1.5 Educational qualification of respondents                                                                      63

4.1.6 Marital status of respondents                                                                                         63

4.2 Waste collection, reuse and recycling                                                                              65

4.2.1 Sources of waste                                                                                                            65

4.2.2 Volume and Characteristics of Waste materials collected                                            67

4.2.3 Destinations of retrieved waste materials                                                                      70

4.2.4 Quantity of waste materials collected weekly by respondents                                      73

4.2.5 Artisanal recyclers among respondents                                                                         74

4.2.6 Assorted plastic collection and its utilization                                                                74

4.2.7 Plastic bottle collections and reuse activities                                                                76

4.3 Socio-economic benefit of waste management to WMEs                                                77

4.3.1 Income of respondents                                                                                                  77

4.3.2 Cost of assorted waste materials                                                                                   79

4.3.3 Cost of a dozen of assorted plastics                                                                            80

4.3.4 Cost of conveying assorted waste materials                                                                  80

4.3.5 Cost of 1 tonne of waste material in recycling industries                                              81

4.3.6 Waste management enterprises and job creation                                                           81

4.4 Challenges in waste management activities                                                                     82

4.5 Waste management and the state of the environment                                                      83

4.5.1 Awareness of environmental benefit of waste management and theenvironment among


4.5.2 Knowledge of waste as a threat to the environment                                                     84

4.5.3 Multiple linear regression analysis of benefits from waste management activities      85


5.1Summary                                                                                                                           88

5.2 Conclusion                                                                                                                        90

5.3 Recommendations                                                                                                            91

5.3.1 Specific Recommendations                                                                                           91

5.3.2 The institutional framework for waste management in Zaria93

References                                                                                                                              96









The term ‗waste‘ has a different meaning for different people. In general, waste is ‗unwanted‘ for the person who discards it; a product or material that does not have a value anymore for the first user and is therefore thrown away. But ‗unwanted‘ is subjective and the waste could have value for another person in a different circumstance, or even in a different culture (Van de Klundert and Justine, 2001). There are many large industries that operate primarily or exclusively using waste materials such as paper and metals as their industrial raw materials. In the context of Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM), waste is regarded both as valueless and as a useful material providing a potential source of income. This real value of waste in many low-and middle-income countries (developing countries) is confirmed by the huge informal sector that lives on waste collection and recovery (Van de Klundert and Justine, 2001).

Waste, either in solid or liquid form is being produced since the dawn of human existence and it is not excessive to say, waste is the first thing generated before people are able to contribute to the betterment of lives. Due to social and environmental consequences, waste reuse, recycle and recovery have become essentials in minimizing the environmental damage that could occur through indiscriminate waste disposal (Sivapalan, Mohamad, Mohamad, and Muhd-Noor, 2005).

Davies (2008) notes that ―what some people consider to be waste materials or substances are considered a source of value by others‖ This relative attribute of waste can be compared with the concept of ‗resource‘ which has also been defined as material that has use-value and ―a reflection of human appraisal‖ (Jones and Hollier, 1977). Just as a material becomes a resource when it gains use-value, it also becomes waste when it loses its use-value. Like resources, waste is also a relative concept of human appraisal because what constitutes waste can vary from one person to another, one society to another and over time. As noted by Jessen (2002) ―our waste stream is actually full of resources going in the wrong direction‖.

Waste reuse and recycling as an alternative management option for waste is now recognized as an important approach to solving waste problem both in developed and developing world. Resource recovery from dumped consumer products is growing in significance, as waste is increasingly seen as a valuable resource. As human beings continuously realized that resources are finite, efficient use of resources and resources recovery from wastes are vital for global environmental sustainability (Zaman and Lehmann, 2011).

Developed countries generally rely on land filling to overcome the problem of waste accumulation (Girling, 2005; Pacione, 2005). The landfill seems to have a special attraction for municipal waste managers because it offers a cheap and convenient option for waste disposal compared with other strategies such as reuse, recycling and energy recovery (Charzan, 2002). In fact, with the exception of few countries like Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark who recycle substantial proportions of their waste, most countries in Europe and North America still dump the bulk of their municipal solid waste in landfills (OECD, 2002; Girling, 2005). For instance, In May, 2008, the inadequacy of waste disposal land created mayhem in the Italian city of Naples when the streets became laden with waste, blocking traffic and causing nuisance and hazards (Anthony, 2009). The European Commission’s thematic strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste (European Union, 2005) called for life-cycle thinking in waste policies and moving towards a recycling society. This has in turn highlighted the opportunities for improved coherence between policies on waste and those on climate change and resource efficiency

(European Environment Agency (EEA), 2011).

Additionally, specific technical expertise and related general repair and maintenance technology are often absent in developing nations‘ scenario. Incineration in Africa would be infeasible if the waste stream is indeed 70% wet organic content. Under these conditions, incineration is likely to be energy consuming rather than an energy-producing option. There is environmental-health problems associated with incineration. When conditions are not optimal, incineration volatilizes many compounds, such as dioxins, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxides, which are potentially harmful to human health, atmosphere, plants, and animals (Manyanhaire et al, 2009).

Lastly in the hierarchy is land disposal (landfill), which involves haulage of garbage in open areas. Such areas range from unsanitary open dumps to properly operated sanitary landfills (Ukoje, 2011).

In the past few years, research on SWM in Nigeria has focused essentially on contextualizing waste recycling as an approach to urban environmental management and livelihoods (Adeyemi, Olorunfemi and Adewoye, 2001; Agunwamba, 2003; Nzeadibe and Eziuzor, 2006; Nzeadibe and Iwuoha, 2008). Unfortunately, SWM appear to have received little attention from Nigerian social scientists especially from the viewpoint of the socially-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Nzeadibe, 2009). Environmental concerns and sustainable development are germane to MDGs, which make an investigation into how wealth generated from waste helps in sustainable environmental management an appropriate subject of inquiry.


In the pursuit of sustainable waste management, the prevention of waste generation is the first priority, followed by waste recovery and safe disposal of waste on the hierarchy of principles for waste management (Figure 1.1). These principles need to be put in practice through joint waste prevention and management measures if growing environmental degradation is to be avoided. For example, the use of valuable land for waste disposal, the release of harmful substances from landfills and waste transports into air, soil and water, and the use of resources that are transformed into disposed waste instead of being reused or recycled will all have negative impacts on the environment, and will have a long-lasting direct and indirect influences on the quality of life (European Urban Waste Management Cluster (EUWMC), 2005).

It is known that there have been some local methods by which solid wastes were been reused or recycled. The knowledge of waste reuse and recycling might not be totally new in the Nigerian context. Rather, it is the current sophistication involved that is rather new. Waste facilities in developing countries are minimal, but substantial quantities are diverted for recycling (Tajuddeen, 2003). So there was this reuse culture that has been planted in to Nigerians subconsciously. Every item used were structured for reuse. Even today, the sachets of ―pure water‖ are used by horticulturists for flower nursery and paper wrappers are reused. The reuse tradition is what makes old newspapers useful for wrapping roasted groundnut ( Arachis hypogea Linn) and pop corn (guguru) or akara, the popular fried beans cake. Apart from the fact that the reuse culture saves lots of money, it is highly conservative resulting in waste management (Ajibade, 2005).

In spite of the enormous benefits associated with sustainable waste management strategies such as re-use and recycling, only a handful of countries are able to put them into practice. For instance, most of the economically developed countries are still unable to recycle much of their waste (Anthony, 2009). Besides, growing land scarcity and stricter environmental standards now make it difficult for many rich cities to find adequate and suitable disposal sites for the large volumes of waste being generated by their urban populations (Pacione, 2005; Charzan, 2002).

The foregoing review demonstrates that waste to wealth has multiple socioeconomic and environmental benefits yet it has not been systematically examined in Zaria. The dearth of such work is an important research gap needed to be urgently filled.


The research questions posed are as follows:

  1. What are the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area?
  2. What are the sources and destinations of recyclable Municipal Solid Waste, in Zaria metropolis?
  • What is the quantity of waste materials (metal scraps, plastics and cans) recovered, reused and transported for recycling?
  1. What type of uses are the recyclable materials put into?
  2. What are the socioeconomic benefits of waste management to waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area?


The aim of the study is to evaluate the potential for municipal solid waste reuse/recycling as waste management strategies in Zaria metropolis to create wealth and promote a sustainable environment.  The specific objectives are to:

i.examine the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area  ii.identify the sources and destinations of recyclable Municipal Solid Waste, in Zaria metropolis; iii.analyse the quantity of waste materials (metal scraps, plastics and cans) recovered, reused, transported for recycling.

  1. identify the type of uses recyclable materials are put into in the study area.
  2. examine the socioeconomic benefits of waste management to waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area.


There are several reasons for continuous research on waste problem at local, national and global levels. Firstly, the earth‘s natural resources are fast dwindling, hence the need to conserve the resources. Reuse and recycle are some of the conservation means for sustainable natural resource management, including municipal solid waste. This is the environmental justification for this study. Also, this study will provide evidence on the volume of wealth/job created from managing municipal solid waste (MSW) that can be used for future development planning in the area of employment generation. Evidence from other countries such as Germany, Australia and the US demonstrate how significant job creation at the local level has been achieved through high recycling rates, thus supporting new business formation (Mayor of London, 2003).

In terms of contribution to knowledge on solid waste and urban environmental management, findings of the study will form a base knowledge for researchers interested in that area. It is hoped that this work will contribute to finding a sustainable way of handling scrap metal, can and plastic waste menace in Zaria with adaptive implications for the whole country and beyond.


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential for solid waste re-use and recycling as a management strategy to create wealth and promote a sustainable waste management. The spatial scope of this work are localities in Zaria which include; Samaru, Palladan, Basawa, Gyllesu, Muchia, Chikaji, Wusasa, Dogarawa, Sabon-Gari, Tudun Wada, Gaskiya and Zaria city. The areas were chosen based on the prominence of collection points. By indication, Zaria as used in this study comprises Zaria and Sabon-Gari Local Government Areas (LGAs), with four (4) districts namely; Zaria city district, Tudun Wada district, Sabon-Gari district and Samaru district.

This study will therefore examine recovery, reuse and recycling of MSW. The focus will be limited to scrap metal, plastic bottles and cans; since they are the items that are majorly recovered by the entrepreneurs. The temporal scope for the field work was limited to one month (i.e. from second week of November to first week of December 2012).


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