October 2, 2014

Microsoft Tackles E-Waste In Africa

Chances are at some point in your life you have used something that Microsoft has made. The computer software company has long been known as a giant, and now they are putting that gargantuan presence to further use in the e-waste industry.

Microsoft has partnered with a German-based company called Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to combat the e-waste challenges currently going on in Africa. Microsoft and GIZ have combined to research how fixing, recycling, refurbishing, and material processing  old mobile phones is being performed in the African countries of Nigeria, Morocco, and Kenya.

It will be an initiative for two years, put into effect by GIZ with funding from Microsoft. The objective after doing due diligence in the research phase is to determine and ultimately establish the most sound methods for both the formal and informal sector for used cellular phones and other phone e-waste. They will strive to upgrade the current practices toward a greener, better recycling solution.

The companies know that handling large amounts of e-waste means specific solutions and a solid plan must be met, and there is optimism it will create a potential for new jobs to citizens of those locales.

The key is in the education process–educating to not dispose of e-waste the same way we would other household products.

GIZ noted that in determining current practices and devising the best strategies for the phones and the like, it is crucial for any e-waste legislation to coincide with implementation guidelines that would work well with the local conditions. For example, simply copying what is done in the European Union may not be the easiest or best fix.

Meanwhile, according to research already conducted by the two companies, as Africa’s electronics consumption goes up, so will the e-waste volume. Also amidst their research, it was noted mobile phones especially hold valuable metals and plastics that can be made into raw materials at a value. To do so, a safe electronics recycling process needs to be set up.



Recycle with Vintage Tech


Vintage Tech is happy to see two prominent companies like Microsoft and GIZ working together to help Africa with their e-waste. Their research shows what is being talked about across the industry–that e-waste volume is going up but needs to be safely redistributed and taken care of. Within our own company, we do our part in that effort all the time and are thankful to everyone who has responsibly recycled their electronics with us.

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