Global spiral in e-waste inspires local partnerships

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E-waste generated around the world will reach 65.4 million tonnes by 2017, and will be one-third higher than it was in 2012 according to a United Nations initiative called “solving the e-waste problem” (STEP).

But fortunately, innovative ways of tackling the e-waste burden are cropping up to handle the extra load.

Most recently, Ericsson revealed measures that include product take-back services and partnerships with its customers aimed at reducing the amount of e-waste worldwide.

Ericsson’s programme is free according to the company’s Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility report for 2014 which details how, in 2014, Ericsson partnered with Airtel Ghana and MTN Africa in response to the e-waste challenge.

Ghana is home to Agbogbloshie, one of the largest e-waste dump sites in the world.

The report says disposal and recycling of e-waste by Ericsson in Ghana includes end-of-life telecom equipment from Airtel’s  networks.

But it’s not just Ghana that Ericsson is working with; the company is also working jointly with MTN Benin on an e-waste project to take back telecom e-waste as well as mobile phones, personal computers and other household e-waste.

Ericsson has, however, reduced its global collection target for 2015 to an average of 9% in a bid to be more realistic.

Closer to home, the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) enjoys membership of companies like Pick n Pay, Massmart and Business Connexion. eWASA lists collection sites countrywide on its website, including one in neighbouring Botswana.

Collection sites can include retail stores and independent e-waste collection areas where you can drop off batteries and other items for recycling or disposal.

To see the closest collection site to you, hit up the eWASA website, click Recycling and choose your province; that provides access to a list of sites where e-waste can be dropped off.

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