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Mobile phone recycling encouraged in Africa
(13/12/2010 11:21:08)

Entrepreneurs in Kenya have been urged to explore the benefits of setting up recycling initiatives for gadgets such as mobile phones.

According to statistics from a United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) study, mobile phone subscriptions across the country grew to 17.4 million last year, marking a 34 per cent rise on 2008.

Now, with more than 20 million handset owners in the country, officials are keen for businesses to develop mobile phone recycling schemes in order to draw materials from the gadgets, Business Daily reports.

The government's pleas have not been restricted to telecommunication devices, as the disposal of computing equipment is also high on the agenda.

Figures from the report suggested 2,500 tonnes of 'e-waste' is created by computers every year, while mobile phones generate around 150 tonnes of unwanted scrap.

A study conducted by Unep in 2009 indicated that Kenya could be one of the frontrunners in Africa to introduce e-waste recycling due to the large amount of technology being used in the country's towns and cities.

With the number of people embracing gadgets in Kenya expected to increase further in 2011, calls for improved recycling could become more frequent.

Managing director of Hewlett Packard East and Southern Africa Ken Mbwaya has echoed the government's sentiments.

"Given the volume of IT electronic waste entering the country today, there is a critical need to grow formal recycling capacity to cater for the whole region," he told the African publication.

Other nations on the continent have also started to embrace the concept of mobile phone recycling in recent years.

Nokia has reported how disposal schemes have proven popular in South Africa and Nigeria, while the firm also hopes that it will take off in countries such as Uganda, according to PC World.

The manufacturer's senior sustainability manager for the Middle East and Africa Elisabeth Tanguy said: "In South Africa and Nigeria, I can confidently say we have registered a lot of success, but we are going to do everything possible to see success across the continent."

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