E-waste, which refers to any refuse created by discarded electronic devices and components, is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.
According to a report by The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) and the United Nation’s e-waste coalition, e-waste is worth at least $62.5 billion annually, which is more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of most countries.
Half of all e-waste is personal devices, such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs and if not recycled properly, toxic substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium can seep into the environment and may contaminate land, water and the air and are a major health hazard linked to causing cancer.
In Kenya, Safaricom is a top collector of e-waste in the Kenyan private sector. The company has collected and recycled 1072 tonnes of e-waste since 2015.
Last year, Safaricom collected and recycled 217 tonnes and have been managing e-waste with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Centre based in Embakasi.
On International E-waste Day, we explore the journey of electronic devices once they are collected from the e-waste bins at Safaricom shops to their disassembly and final form in the circular economy.