We can’t overlook the fact that the increasing number of technological devices also have major contributions in making the atmosphere and environment more toxic and deadly for us all. Yes, you heard that right.
Every passing day, mobile brands launch their new gadgets with the life expectancy of fewer than 3 years. Have you ever thought where do all the gadgets go after people throw them in the garbage somewhere?
From there, the real journey begins..
When you throw your phone into the garbage jumble thinking that it is useless, you’re wrong! The phone may not work but disposing of electronic waste makes the whole environment poisonous.
For that cause, Joost de Kluijver, a Dutch social entrepreneur decided to take charge and started his own NGO named Closing the Loop.
Some people pass on the used old phones to their telecom provider and some just throw them away. The objective of this NGO is to secure the loop starting from the maker, then to the customer, the disposal process and ending it from where it was started- the maker.
Out of recycled phones, 70% are sent to the Third World countries where the NGOs distribute them among different populations. We force the idea to use the recycled phones to the fullest but they too die anyways. If phones die in the undeveloped regions like Asia and Africa, it will make the land more toxic and fatal.
De Kluijver started his social work back in 2012 and turned it into a for-profit company in 2014. He purchases old phones from individuals, repair stores, and churches. Those phones are then sold on (by the pound or kilo) to certified recycling companies which extricate metals such as tin, gold, and copper present inside the phones. The metals extracted from the phone are then sent back to electronic manufacturers so they could recycle the extracted materials.
“Third world countries don’t have the technology or the infrastructure to do this kind of work, or to dispose of electronic waste sustainably,” Kluijver says.
“We ship in containers, and it takes between 200,000 and 400,000 mobile phones to fill a container. And getting the goods to port from land-locked countries such as Rwanda and Uganda (two of the countries where CTL is active) takes dealing with roads and truckers and permits. It takes time and money and it’s a logistical nightmare, mainly because our transportation requirements and plans have never been done here before.” he elaborates.
Since 2012, Kluijver’s NGO has confined 1.3 million scar phones from the garbage heap.
“We want to provide the global electronics industry with sustainably-sourced materials as well as clean up the electronic waste in countries that currently don’t have the means to responsibly recycle mobile phones,” he says. “This project is mainly a positive story: it shows that organizations are willing to invest in taking responsibility beyond their own use, and they can profit from it.”
Their next goal is “More recycling in more countries, for more partners and customers,” de Kluijver says.