Dell Helps Develop E-Waste Business Model
East Africa Compliant Recycling in Nairobi will recycle e-waste generated in Kenya and the greater East African region. The hub was designed by industry, in collaboration with policymakers.
The regulatory model was developed by Kenyan officials and representatives from non-governmental organizations and the IT and e-recycling industries.
Developing regulations from Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority will help generate capacity for the new e-waste hub by requiring electronics companies to meet certain thresholds for e-waste collection and treatment, Dell says.
Particularly in developing countries, e-waste has monetary value, according to a UN report published in October.
At the heart of the business model are shipping container-housed collection points located throughout Kenya. Each collection point functions as its own independent small business, purchasing e-waste from newly trained individual collectors. To date, four collection points have been established — two funded by Dell — with at least 40 more planned.
Once a shipping container is filled to capacity, its contents are resold to the main hub where the e-waste will be sustainably processed into material fractions and sold back to the technology industry. Each stage of the model is designed to be profitable for participants, from individual collector to collection point to hub.
In addition to protecting the environment, the model is aimed at creating thousands of green jobs at the facility and across supporting logistics and collection networks, in part by converting existing informal-sector e-waste “pickers” into trained and compensated e-waste collectors. Dell and others have invested in training programs to educate workers on the safe collection and recycling of e-waste.
In October Dell received an eCycling Leadership Award for its e-waste recycling efforts. As part of its 2020 Legacy for Good Plan, the company in October set goals to recover 2 billion pounds of electronics and reuse more than 50 million pounds of recycled-content plastics in its products by 2020.
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