The collecting of used mobile phones for recycling is becoming common in Africa especially with support from Orange Telecom Company.
The fifth mobile phones collection facility was inaugurated last week in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in the presence of the Ivorian Minister for the environment, urban cleanliness and sustainable development, Kouadio Remi and the CEO of the Orange Ivory Coast Telecom Group , represented by Joseph Pitah, director of networks and Information Systems.
To mark the event, a first container loaded with 10 tons of mobile waste will leave Ivory Coast for recycling in France.
According to a statement issued by Orange telecom company, the first of these collection and dismantling facilities for mobile phones was opened in March 2010 in Burkina Faso. Others followed in Benin, Madagascar and Niger.
”Mobile use is growing fast in Africa, making it a major environmental issue. There are already 500 million mobile devices on the continent, as well as millions of discarded handsets which are often simply thrown away or burned due to the lack of recycling facilities in the majority of African countries,” the statement said.
It added on that, for Orange, which is present as a network operator in 20 African countries, the recycling of mobile phone waste is one of the major commitments of its CSR policy. Thanks to the workshops set-up by Orange and Emmaüs International, this waste is now being collected for transport to France for recycling.
At each facility, which is run by six local employees, more than 10 tons of mobile waste is collected each year and sent to France for recycling.
In total, since 2010, more than 140 tons of mobile waste have already been sent to France for recycling, and over 30 long-term jobs have been created at the African facilities. Over the next five years, Orange and Emmaüs International plan to continue opening new collection facilities, confirming their partnership on this project, which contributes to local economies and social welfare while protecting the environment.
In France, a young company called Morphosis takes direct delivery of containers of waste from the five African collection facilities at the port in Le Havre. On receipt of the containers, Morphosis sorts the waste into different types by material. The next step is to process the waste, extracting the rare metals that can be re-used in the manufacture of new products and devices. Morphosis is a particularly inventive and effective player in this new market in France.
Since 2009, Orange has been working in France with Ateliers du Bocage (members of Emmaüs International), which recycle used mobile devices collected from Orange stores or internally in France. This social-reintegration organiation aims to give work to vulnerable people, bringing them back into the jobs market. The mobile devices collected are sorted into two categories in the workshops run by Ateliers du Bocage:
Orange recycling initiatives in France which includes collections at Orange stores and premises, collections from Orange’s major corporate clients, defective devices returned by customers and devices recovered through the “mobile second life” offer has led to the collection of nearly 750,000 mobile phones.