Momentum for Change: Oko-baba Sawdust Waste to Wealth Initiative


Focus area: Mitigation
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Established: October 2008

A sizeable percentage of log input in the Nigerian wood industry ends up as wood waste. Moreover, the volume of sawdust from sawmills continues to increase due to a rise in lumber production to meet growing demand for wood products. Nigeria has not fully exploited the potential for recycling waste materials, especially sawdust. Sawdust heaps are considered waste and therefore are indiscriminately incinerated, making a significant contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions.

The major goal of the activity is to support Lagos sawmill workers (Oko-baba cooperatives) to reduce pollution and health problems arising from sawdust combustion, through local capacity-building to utilize sawdust for economic benefits involving the mechanical conversion of the waste sawdust into economically useful briquettes. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while enhancing the quality of life and public health in the host communities.

The activity utilizes simple technology to develop a sawdust briquette factory with locally fabricated machinery and build local workforce who collect and utilize local materials to produce inexpensive but efficient alternative source of heating. The activity strategically identifies, train and engage local cooperative groups (Saw millers) to collect sawdust and convert into low-cost consumer products "briquettes". The groups are also trained on the marketing of the products, considering the large local and international market which exists for briquettes.

Mitigation / Adaptation


Potential for scaling-up and replication

The activity contributes to climate change mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of sawdust and raising awareness among sawmill workers, host community and the public on the dangers of climate change.

The activity brings direct health benefits in terms of avoidance of harmful emissions from sawdust incineration to the people residing close to sawmill in Lagos state, the majority of whom live under 1 dollar per day.

In terms of economic benefits, approximately 2000 jobs have been created in sawdust collecting and processing, maintenance and product marketing. Manufacturers of inexpensive home furnishings have also benefited through a regular supply of particle boards.

Currently the Oko-baba Sawdust waste to wealth project is in its scale-up stage. The aim is to improve production capacity and expand the project to other states in Nigeria with high levels of sawdust waste.