Over the last few years the Jos Green Centre has become a hub for eco-entrepreneurship: businesses that aim to operate sustainably and help to solve environmental problems. A lot of their initiatives are based on a way of thinking called the ‘circular economy’.
We often consume resources in a linear way: we make or buy items, use them and then throw them away. At this end point all the energy, water and materials used in making the items are thrown away too. Oscar refers to this as a ‘buy, use and dump’ culture.
In contrast, the circular economy keeps resources in use for as long as possible. Many items such as computers, phones and other electrical goods can be repaired or the parts reused for something else when they break. This creates job opportunities and reduces damaging waste.
Oscar explains that this circular way of thinking fits well with the traditional Nigerian worldview. He says, ‘There is no word for waste in our indigenous languages. Rather, you consider something to be not usable now, or something to be kept for later use, or something to be given to someone who needs it. Resources are moved around different sectors and industries and in the long run you do not have anything called waste.’
At the Jos Green Centre many young people have now received training in how to make solar power systems from electronic waste. This is resulting in new opportunities for employment, as well as reducing waste and addressing local needs for affordable, sustainable energy.