Brussels — The partnership between Umicore and WorldLoop has won the first Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs Trophy. The jury praised the partnership for its joint efforts in providing local African entrepreneurs with the educational tools and knowledge to set up environmentally sound solutions for e-waste collection and dismantling in Africa.
There is a fast-growing need to avoid uncontrolled dumping or improper dismantling, burning and leaching of electronic waste. It is proven by renowned international organizations such as the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) that such highly toxic materials trigger environmental and health issues in the developing world.
Knowledge sharing, coaching and supporting
To help overcome these issues the partnership is instrumental in WorldLoop’s activities to set up local sustainable businesses and recycling infrastructure through knowledge sharing, coaching and support in training local entrepreneurs. These activities are combined with raising awareness in Africa as well as in Europe.
WorldLoop teaches African entrepreneurs how to appropriately treat all fractions in e-waste through intensive training in addition to receiving insights regarding good business practices. This year for example they followed a one week practitioner training in Belgium organized by WorldLoop and UNIDO with hands-on, practical training including a half-day session at Umicore.
954 tonnes of e-waste collected
Since 2011 WorldLoop has set up co-operations with entrepreneurs in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Senegal, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chile. The centres already collected and dismantled more than 954 tonnes of e-waste. From this waste some 25 tonnes of circuit boards have been sent to Umicore’s recycling facility near Antwerp with another 20 tonnes on the way.
Luc Gellens, Senior VP Recycling commented: „We are very pleased with this recognition as our partnership with WorldLoop and Close the Gap is perfectly putting into practice our vision on sustainability and contribution to society. It speaks to the hearts and minds of people well beyond the Umicore community.“
Olivier Vanden Eynde, director of Close the Gap and WorldLoop stated: „Close the Gap and WorldLoop empower local entrepreneurs and communities in developing countries to cultivate their own societal solutions. The Close the Gap programs bridge the digital divide on the one hand by providing high quality refurbished IT equipment to the developing world and WorldLoop on the other hand supports local entrepreneurs to turn the potential environmental risk at end-of-life into a social, economic and environmental opportunity.“
Value being reinvested
The partnership focuses specifically on e-waste that has accumulated in Africa originating from ICT waste from ICT development projects that reached their end of use in the developing world. Without a solution the positive impact of this equipment in the use phase is cancelled out due to the challenges in the end of life phase. The result of the recycling service, the value of the precious metals, is being reinvested into the projects to finance the collection and recycling of entire devises including the non-valuable parts.
IT equipment from Umicore receives a second life in Africa via Close the Gap’s „ICT for development programs“ among others providing entrepreneurs with IT equipment to support their business. Local e-waste dismantling and sorting entrepreneurs are being connected by WorldLoop with the best in class internationally available recycling technologies offered by Umicore to ensure proper recycling when the (donated) IT equipment reaches the end of its life.
Source: Umicore Group