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A Material Recovery Facility in Cape Town, South Africa, as a replicable concept for sustainable e-waste management and recycling in developing countries

TitleA Material Recovery Facility in Cape Town, South Africa, as a replicable concept for sustainable e-waste management and recycling in developing countries
Publication TypeProceedings Article
Year of Conference2008
AuthorsSchluep M, Dittke S, Newson G, Kane C, Hieronymi K
Conference Name2008 Global Symposium on Recycling, Waste Treatment and Clean Technology
Conference Start Date12.10.2008
Conference LocationCancun, Mexico
KeywordsE-waste recycling, manual dismantling, refurbishing, waste-to-art
AbstractE-waste is currently the fastest growing waste stream in South Africa as well as in many other
African countries. Informal collectors, dismantlers and recyclers based in Africa play an
increasingly larger role in the processing of e-waste under generally unacceptable social and
environmental conditions. In direct response to this trend, and as part of Hewlett Packard’s
international Extended Producer Responsibility, the project “e-Waste Management in Africa”
was started in 2007 in cooperation with the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) and the Swiss
Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa). This project is investigating the
e-Waste situation in various African Countries, including South Africa, while actively supporting
the development of practical, socially just and environmentally acceptable local e-waste
management solutions.
To this end, the project has been funding the development of a pilot project in Cape Town, South
Africa since February 2008, supporting the start-up of a low tech/highly labour intensive material
dismantling and recovery facility (MRF) for the pre-processing of e-waste. The aim is to test the
feasibility of an integrated value adding local e-Waste management system, designed to
maximize the potential of refurbishment, repair, re-use, dismantling and recycling of equipment,
with environmentally responsible disposal as a last resort only. The project also seeks to
incorporate the current informal e-waste processing activities, by transforming them into
sustainable and environmentally sound operations. The MRF acts as a nucleus, raising
awareness, and providing training and education to previously disadvantaged individuals as a
means of creating opportunities for entrepreneurship in the technical maintenance, dismantling
and waste-to-art project sectors.
This study presents an analysis of the implementation of the MRF, presenting quantitative
massflow data, financial numbers and social indicators as well as challenges and opportunities
encountered in each phase. It will propose a blueprint concept for the sustainable instalment of
MRFs into the specific environment of developing countries.
AttachmentSize
2008_Schluep_REWAS.pdf702.97 KB
2008_Schluep_REWAS_slides.pdf1.79 MB
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