(Interview at the end of the article)
The current consumption levels of electronics like mobiles and the life span reduction have led to massive e-waste production. The complexity of this problem has led to the emergence of a new type of crime known as “waste traffic”. This type of criminal activity consists of sending waste containers from “developed” countries to poorer countries, mainly located in the south, such as the African continents.
In many cases, the e-waste ends up being treated illegally, which is the direct cause of several environmental and social problems such as child exploitation, degradation of the population's health, contamination of natural systems and other problems.
In 2012, the documentary Waste Land Film exposed the situation of one of the main cities from Gana to the world, that was considered one of the most polluted places on the planet. In an endless electronic waste landfill, thousands of people, many of them children, were working to extract metals such as copper and aluminium. Many of these electronic devices were illegally exported to this country as “second-hand items” and one of the main points of origin was Europe. However, for the vast majority, this seems to be a very distant and too complex problem, which means that few seek to develop solutions that mitigate this situation.
But that did not stop Closing the Loop from getting to work and developing a solution that breaks the logic of business as usual.
Closing the Loop makes it possible for organizations to offset the environmental footprint that they generate each time they buy a new mobile phone while contributing to solving the e-waste problem.
For each new mobile phone purchased, a small fee it's charged, which allows Closing the Loop to correctly forward an old equipment at the end of life from a country in Africa, to recycling. CTL also ensures that the recycling is carried out by certified entities, with preference given to local recycling centres. Doing that, CTL is also promoting job creation and local economic promotion. The organizations also receive reports with the impacts achieved by being associated with this solution.
Curious to know more?
To find out more about this social impact company, I went to another journey, this time towards the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, a multicultural and diverse city and one of the most desirable places in Europe for tourists.
During this trip, I had the opportunity to meet with Joost de Kluijver, the founder of this social impact company, who explained to me the Closing the Loop story, how this process happens and also some of his opinions and experience! Find out everything in another episode of #TheCircularChangemakers