No matter how much you love your favorite familiar smartphone or look down on those who constantly upgrade to the latest model, there will come a time when new equipment is in order. Proper disposal of unneeded devices is vital for the environment and economy at large, according to All Heart NZ, a New Zealand-based sustainability consulting firm.
There are a handful of electronic waste (e-waste) recyclers in Egypt. All of them focus on finding and collecting discarded mobile phones, laptops, chargers, cameras, video games, gaming consoles, and PC monitors.
The problem is that informal collectors dominate the scene and will likely pass discarded devices to a network of unregistered handlers. Tarek El Araby, who heads the Waste Management Regulatory Authority, told Enterprise that “informal garbage collectors” snap up nearly 98% of the country’s e-waste.
An AUC report found the authority has authorized only 14 e-waste recycling factories. The government publishes almost no e-waste data, so there is no formal or regularly updated information.
One of the more visible e-waste recyclers is Green Place, a company overlooking the Maadi Corniche, wholly owned by Greest FZCO, a prominent e-waste recycler in the UAE. Its marketing and communication messages focus on the importance of erasing all data from high-end PCs, smartphones, and tablets. That includes removing links to other devices.
Green Place’s website targets corporate customers, including data centers and manufacturers. Its contact information is a landline (0223592506) and a mobile number (0102346181).
Recyclobekia, another e-waste recycler, is a Green Place subsidiary. Created in 2011, it was the first company in Egypt to separate electrical components, group them and send them to specialized recyclers.
They have two services. The first is for individuals who want to recycle electronic equipment weighing less than 500 kilograms. Handling more than that requires filling out a short registration form on the website. Regardless, the company promises “pickup within three days after receiving the list” of devices to be recycled.
Recyclbekia promises that “if your items can be reused within 10 days after pickup, you will get paid.” Their contacts are an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the same telephone numbers as Green Place.
Others include Triple RE (Tel: 01000691011 in Agouza), Bekia-Egypt (email: email@example.com, mobile 01125428292 – 01008366291), Brother Electronics Co. (mobile: 01112367350, no digital presence), and Egyptian Electronics Recycling Co. Group (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile 01116604831, 01032016811). Computer shops, mainly in specialty malls, also can take unwanted devices.
E-Tadweer is an e-waste management initiative created in 2020. It is the product of the Information and Communication Ministry and the Ministry of Environment. Those who want to dispose of electronic devices must download the E-Tadweer app from Google Play or App Store.
The app requires registration and asks for photos of the devices. It then maps the nearest “drop-off points.” In return, users get discount vouchers to spend in partner stores RAYA and Vodafone.
E-Tadweer currently focuses on individuals. However, Enterprise reported this is only “phase one,” the latter ones expected to include corporations.