The 2020 Global E-Waste Monitor report shows a record of 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019. It also reveals that global e-waste will reach 74 metric tonnes by 2030, making e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for repair.

In tackling this,  Kenyas’s Safaricom has announced plans to work with partners and regulators to support the informal sector in e-waste management. The Safaricom e-waste management programme was launched on October 12, with the main objective of providing an end management solution for out of use electronic gadgets.

The initiative will involve the collection of old electronics such as radios, phones, laptops, batteries, chargers and all other electronics. This part will be handed to a recycling partner, which will in turn dissemble the gadgets, separate them into different parts and then recycle the locally recyclable materials while the non-recyclable material will be sent to partners outside of the country for safe end of life management.

This programme will create a sustainable business model that will provide employment opportunities and link the sector to potential markets for their products.  It will also see Kenya’s telecommunications giant work with regulators to support the licensing of informal sector players to increase capacity and foster transparency during operations.

In a statement made by Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom CEO, the company has collected over 1,200 tonnes of e-waste, while working with partners in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre in Nairobi, Ministry of Environment, the Communications Authority and the National Environment Management Authority. 

Through this programme, 100 e-waste handlers and 15 electronic repairs will be trained and licensed by NEMA. It would also focus on improving the health and safety practices among informal workers in the sector.

Safaricom’s partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, East Africa Communications Organization (EACO) and other stakeholders, will help create awareness on the importance of safe disposal as well as handling and recycling of e-waste.

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