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I fell in love with plastic recycling in 2001 and, since then, I've not looked back

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22 January 2023
6 minutes read
I fell in love with plastic recycling in 2001 and, since then, I've not looked back

A nickname and education

I am widely known by my nickname, Ijapa, in our town, Tede, near Saki, in Atisbo  Local Government Area, Oke Ogun, Oyo State, Nigeria.

Ijapa is Yoruba for tortoise. 

I played the animal in a drama while in primary school in the town and, since then, my  given name, Sunday Ayotunde Ogunsiji, has faded into the background.

I was born on 7 March 1982, second to the last of the six children - two boys and four girls - of my parents whose names are Isaac Ogunsiji Ogundeyi and Dorcas Ogunsiji.

I started primary school in 1986 at Baptist Day School in Tede, but paused for some months when my dad took ill and I had to travel to Oyo town with my mum, who was a provisions and food seller.

That was why I finished primary school in 1993, spending about seven years.

I was quite young then and did not have a clue what exactly was wrong with my dad. I just knew that he was not well.

I attended Progressive Secondary School, a government school, in Tede, from 1994 to 2000.

I continued to do drama in secondary school. I was into a lot of comedy.

I was a bit rascally in my secondary school days. 

In 1988/9, when the school was not given a bus while others got, I was one of those who went and protested to the Local Government Authority chairman. We got our school bus after. 

However, I cannot forget Mr Kehinde Fatoki, our social studies teacher. He was my favourite teacher because he never stopped encouraging us to be studious. 

Now retired from teaching, he always told us that education pays; that it gives one exposure while the lack of it makes one stagnant in life.

I sat for my West African School Certificate Examination but did not do well.  Or, well, I did not make the papers that would have made me to go further for social studies which I was interested in at the tertiary education level.

So, my older brother, Gbenga Ogunsiji, came to pick me up from Tede to stay with him in an area of Ibadan called Apete.

By then, he had been graduated in accountancy from The Polytechnic Ibadan.

He wanted me to go further in my education; which meant that I had to first retake my West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE).

In the meantime, I had to work in a company producing sachet water or "pure water". I was a packer there. I ended up spending four months there.

My brother enrolled me in a Tutorial Centre in preparation for my WASCE.

When the time came for the examination, I moved to stay with my brother's friend, Mr Kunle Soyooye, in his residence at Challenge. My exam centre was at Molete High School, which was not far from Challenge.


Life's new direction

This is where the story of my life took a new course.

I had gone to Mr Soyooye's company, Richmart - named after his two children, Richard and Martins - where plastic materials are recycled. 

For me, it was what you would call love at first sight.

I simply fell in love with the process.

Soon, I joined them in doing the work.

I sat for my examination and had good grades: C4 in each of  English Language, mathematics, economics and government, and E8 in Yoruba and agriculture. I had F9 in mathematics in my first attempt.

I returned to Apete and pleaded with my brother to allow me join his friend to continue doing the job.

He agreed with me.

So, from around 2002, I started working fully with Richmart. 

I lived with Mr Soyooye for five years.

I worked at Richmart. 

I eventually became a manager there. I held the position for about six years.

In 2010, I set up Sunny Peace Integrated Services, my own plastic recycling business.

I operate out of Shop No AF17 Aleshinloye Market, Ibadan.

I travel around to buy broken plastic chairs from rental companies and churches. 

We grind them into new plastics which are then sold to those who manufacture plastic chairs and all. That is what plastic recycling entails.

I have no regrets doing this job. None at all. I love the job.

I would need some capital to upgrade the business as I would need to install some machines. 

My numbers are +2348135939769 and 08051171817 (WhatsApp).


Dear Reader,

This initiative which started as a demonstration project for an intern of The Journalism Clinic has, before our very eyes, taken a life of its own, demanding a lot more resources than envisaged.

Your kind support will keep us going. You can do so securely here.

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Many thanks.

Taiwo Obe, FNGE
Commonwealth Professional Fellow
Founder/Director, The Journalism Clinic
+234 818 693 5900