Global efforts to preserve the environment have sparked a surge in recycling initiatives worldwide, targeting various forms of waste.
According to Netsol, a maintenance company, a wide range of items, including dairy, meat, bones, fruits, vegetables, peelings, rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits, eggs, eggshells, fish bones, shells, pet foods, tea bags, and coffee grounds, can all be recycled. Notably, fruits, vegetables, and eggshells are particularly beneficial additions to compost heaps.
In the fight against climate change, experts recommend that Nigerians focus on reducing food waste, as it is a significant contributor to environmental issues. This call aligns with the World Earth Day commemoration on April 22.
“Food waste recycling can also be adopted to curb food waste. Food waste through anaerobic digestion can generate biogas, which is key in renewable energy to ensure energy security,” the executive Director of Youth in Agroecology and Restoration Network (YARN), Opeyemi Elujulo, told Nigerian Tribune.
One of the people who led the charge against climate change was Ogochukwu Maduako, an agricultural waste recycler and business development expert who had mastery in Nigeria’s agricultural and oil & gas sectors.
Maduako’s innovative approach to agriculture and the climate was rooted in both her love for the environment and her education.
She was a second-class in Agricultural Economics and Extension from Abia State University and an M.Sc. in International Economics and Finance from Rivers State University, using that education to passionately advocate for Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to inspire socially responsible youth.
Maduako, also known as Peace, decided to engage in an uncommon type of recycling—transforming eggshells into calcium carbonate powder for use as a calcium supplement.
“Eggshells are so important that their importance cuts across various sectors like the pharmaceutical sector, cosmetics sector, agricultural sector and likewise the paint industry,” she said in the description of her company’s operations.
She emphasized how both Nigerians and the government could profit significantly from waste. “Agricultural waste is seriously being neglected in Nigeria, whereas there is an untapped wealth from this particular sector which can generate millions of Naira worth of revenue for the sector.
“The Ministry of Agriculture should channel a lot of energy into recycling agricultural waste rather than being in a hurry to import raw materials. Within these agricultural waste lies lots of raw materials,” she said.
Such initiatives, explained David Adetoyinbo, a farmer and advocate for zero food waste, essentially involve repurposing eggshells to minimise waste.
“Eggshell recycling reduces landfill waste, enriches the soil, and decreases chemical use—benefiting the environment, “ Adetoyinbo said about the environmental usefulness of recycling the eggshells.
“Economically, it holds potential for job creation and opens up new market opportunities. This sustainable practice fosters environmental health and resourcefulness.”
Speaking on how people are getting involved in the eggshell recycling business, he said, “For me, the statistics of people venturing into eggshell recycling are relative. People are just beginning to understand the richness of eggshells (calcium carbonates). I would say only a few people are in the business.”
Maduako’s agricultural waste recycling company was moving towards the goal of ensuring safer food and a cleaner environment- addressing food security and a sustainable environment.
In one of her interviews, Maduako restated her commitment to “change the narratives of agricultural waste through eggshells. I want agricultural waste to be seen differently, more like the gold that it is,” she said.
She made the agricultural business beautiful and inviting until her death in March 2022, leaving pain in the hearts of family and friends and her unfulfilled vision.