Impact Journalism Day by Sparknews: A better society - No. 37

Giving electronic waste a new lease of life

TANTA (Egypt) • Can recycling e-waste really be profitable? Twenty Tanta University students say yes, as they work to build an electronic waste recycling culture in Egypt with RecycloBekia.

RecycloBekia is the first enterprise concerned solely with the collection of electronic waste in Egypt. The company offers green recycling and safe date destruction to combat the hazards of electronic waste along with conserving natural resources.

"Most electrical and electronic equipment consists of valuable, recoverable materials, including silver, gold, plastic and copper," Mr Mostafa Hemdan, RecycloBekia's CEO, said. "Consequently, recycling these components can save energy and natural resources."

 

Mr Hemdan explained the disadvantages of piling up electronic waste in landfill sites. "E-waste consists of toxic and hazardous metals, which rot gradually and - eventually - dissolve into the soil.

"This leads to contaminated water and food, or even worse, some are burned, causing pollutant air emissions."

Their model involves multiple revenue streams, beginning with a focus on Egypt's corporations, some of which are more than happy to become clients, said Mr Mohamed Sehsah, public relations and media manager for RecycloBekia.

Recycling firm RecycloBekia collects e-waste and recovers the valuable metals and materials in old electric and electronic equipment instead of letting the waste pile up in landfills and risk the metals polluting the soil.
Recycling firm RecycloBekia collects e-waste and recovers the valuable metals and materials in old electric and electronic equipment instead of letting the waste pile up in landfills and risk the metals polluting the soil. PHOTO: RECYCLOBEKIA

Mobinil, Orange, Intel, Oracle and ExxonMobil are among the organisations that have been added to a list of green companies which have made positive steps towards helping the environment by joining RecycloBekia.

Mr Hemdan is now planning to expand this business across the Middle East.

The entrepreneur has also joined forces with African online retailer Jumia to allow individuals to trade their electronic waste for vouchers to buy products.

RecycloBekia plans to take electronics recycling to the next level in the near future. "Opening up the first electronic recycling factory in the Middle East and North Africa region is one of our aspirations that would establish a long-term plan for reviving the economy, and open doors to new job opportunities," Mr Hemdan said confidently.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Giving electronic waste a new lease of life'. Print Edition | Subscribe