July 28, 2014
VENTURES AFRICA – As mobile use grows sporadically in Africa, environmental concerns have emerged with respect to how to properly dispose of faulty or damaged devices. The damage that hundreds of millions of mobile devices can do to the environment if improperly disposed of will be magnanimous. This is why Orange, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, has taken on the recycling of mobile phone waste by building recycling facilities across Africa.
Orange, in partnership with Emmaüs, has built five facilities in Africa. Each facility in every country is operated by about six local employees and collects more than 10 tons of mobile waste which is sent to France for recycling. This has been the case for four years over which period about 30 long term jobs have been created at these facilities.
Once the waste arrives France, a company called Morphosis takes delivery at the port in Le Havre. The recycling process involves sorting the waste into different types depending on the material, processing the waste, and extracting the rare metals that can be re‐used in the manufacture of new products and devices. Morphosis is a key player in this market in France, and also operates in the Middle East & Africa. It works with the telecoms and electronics sectors to recycle their waste to deliver a re‐usable raw material in a way that doesn’t impact the environment negatively.
In 2012, Morphosis raked in some €5 million in revenues, and this flags mobile recycling as a potential profitable business initiative with lots of potential given the growing and sustainable use of mobile devices in African countries.
Over the same four years since Orange began building here facilities in Africa, it also organizes an annual collection event in France for used mobile phones, batteries and chargers. The profits from these actions are used to fund the “Africa Project” run by Emmaüs international.
Orange and Emmaüs plan to continue opening new collection facilities over the next five years to contribute to protecting the environment and improving social welfare.