Closing the Loop is a Netherlands-based organisation that creates a circular economy for mobile phones. In practise, they give good quality second hand mobile telephones a second life in Africa, but more importantly, they create a reverse-distribution system in less developed nations to collect mobile phones for recycling.
In less developed nations, there are no good facilities for recycling electronic scrap such as mobile phones. As a result, a lot of these not only destroy the environment, but they create no value for the local community. Closing the Loop creates the opportunity for people to receive a small compensation for their broken mobile phones by buying these and exporting them to Europe. Back in Europe these mobile telephones are recycled, freeing up the valuable metals inside for re-use in the economy.
Closing the Loop has been active for a few years, and has performed a number of pilot studies in various African and Asian countries. Some of these pilots became projects where very large numbers of phones were collected. Most notably, the partnership in Ghana has resulted in the collection and export of around 60,000 mobile phones. These phones have now been removed from the environment, where they were seen as waste, and are being put back into the economy as a valuable resource.
Apart from Ghana, Closing the Loop is looking to grow in other countries in Africa and Asia, including the follow-up on the various pilot projects they had. My role is to manage to opportunities in Africa that present themselves, as well as to find new opportunities in African countries.
My experience growing up in Africa, as well as various smaller projects I have done on the continent will enable me to forge the right connections and partnerships to make these projects possible.