Wastes recycling and re-use have multiple socioeconomic and environmental benefits that have not been adequately examined in Nigeria, especially in an area such as Zaria, Kaduna State. 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 recycling and reuse. 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 solid waste recycling and re-use activities contribute more to alternative 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.

Cities are at the nexus of a further threat to the environment, namely the production of an increasing quantity and complexity of wastes. The estimated quantity of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generated worldwide is 1.7 – 1.9 billion metric tons.2 In many cases, municipal wastes are not well managed in developing countries, as cities and municipalities cannot cope with the accelerated pace of waste production. Waste collection rates are often lower than 70 per cent in low-income countries. More than 50 per cent of the collected waste is often disposed of through uncontrolled landfilling and about 15 per cent is processed through unsafe and informal recycling.
Municipal Solid Waste Management 2 As a Mayor, you may have to face challenging waste management decisions addressing issues that require immediate attention as well as potential issues that require strategic and integrated planning and implementation. Establishing and improving facilities for collection, recycling, treatment and disposal for MSW management can be very costly. For example, building and operating sanitary landfills and incineration plants require huge investments and incur substantial operation and maintenance costs. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable locations for waste treatment facilities due to the prevalence of the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) attitude amongst communities.
Meanwhile, if waste is growing at 3-5 per cent a year and rural-urban migration increases a city’s population at a similar rate, then a city’s waste generation will double every 10 years.4 Urban managers are therefore encouraged to pursue the paths of Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3Rs) that place highest priority on waste prevention, waste reduction, and waste recycling instead of just trying to cope with ever-increasing amounts of waste through treatment and disposal. Such efforts will help cities to reduce the financial burden on city authorities for waste management, as well as reduce the pressure on landfill requirements. We live in a world of increasing scarcity. Raw materials from natural resources are limited, financial resources are often insufficient, and securing land for final disposal is getting more difficult.
Clearly, city authorities should set policy directions aiming for resource efficient, recycle-based society if they are to provide a clean, healthy and pleasant living environment to its citizens for current and future generations. Although waste management responsibilities primarily lie with cities and municipalities, many of the successful cases in waste management involve a wide range of stakeholders in their implementation, as can be seen in the case studies cited here. This gives a clear message to cities and municipalities that they should not try to do everything by themselves. Rather, the key to success is to do what they are good at, and collaborate with other sectors in the society, such as private sector, communities and in some cases with the informal sector, in the interest of expanding waste management services and improving efficiency and effectiveness.

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 recycling and reuse 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 recycling and reuse, 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).

Hardoy, et. al., (2001) researched on environmental problems in an urbanizing world and estimates that between one third and one half of all solid waste generated in Third World cities remains uncollected and the collection rate could be as low as 10 – 20 percent in some cases. Depicting a similar picture of the problem, Cointreau (2001), has estimated that in some cases, up to 60 percent of solid waste generated within urban centres in poor countries remains uncollected and such refuse accumulates on waste lands and streets, sometimes to the point of blocking roads. Moreover, uncontrolled solid waste disposal can also cause environmental problems like traffic congestion on the streets and roads, municipal floods when dumped on waterways, etc. (Lawal, 2011).

According to Solomon (2009), in his study on the state of solid waste management in Nigeria; it is estimated that an average Nigerian generates about 0.49kg of solid waste per day with households and commercial centres contributing almost 90% of total urban waste burden. Little information exists on industrial, agricultural and biomedical waste profiles. As with most developing countries, a greater percentage of solid waste composed of organic matter, but recently there has been a marked increased in the amount of plastic wastes generated in Nigeria (Solomon 2009).

Adeyemi et. al., (2001) examined the role of waste scavengers in the waste recycling process in Ilorin, Nigeria. Using plastic waste as an example, it was demonstrated that such recycling is economically viable. The preliminary findings indicate that, scavengers who operate in the informal sector have contributed significantly towards the provision and separation of recyclables for the recycling industries. Scavenging is a source of employment to poor people. They finally recommended that, the waste scavenger could be incorporated formally into the recycling process. Ado (1998) studied the economic importance of solid wastes in Kano metropolis. The findings showed that on the average scavengers that buy recyclables from households generate an income that is equivalent to 50% of the cost of purchase (e.g. for each recyclable they bought at N1.00, they would get 50k as profit).

Nzeadibe‘s (2006) study on ―Cash for Trash‖, asserts that waste recycling system in Nsukka region is run by the informal sector. This is because statutory measures for achieving improved recycling rates are non-existent in Nigeria. As a result, households and businesses can neither be compelled to achieve higher recycling targets nor enforce compliance. Also, because no formal resource recovery programmes exist, residents neither have the incentive nor do they see the need to recycle their wastes.

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:

i.                    What are the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of waste management entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the study area?
ii.                  What are the sources and destinations of recyclable Municipal Solid Waste, in Zaria metropolis?
iii.                What is the quantity of waste materials (metal scraps, plastics and cans) recovered, reused and transported for recycling?
iv.                What type of uses are the recyclable materials put into?
v.                  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 solid waste recycling /re-use as an alternative to 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.
iv.                identify the type of uses recyclable materials are put into in the study area.
v.                  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 recycling and reuse 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, recycling and reuse 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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