Nokia Relaunches Recycling Campaign in Uganda

Nokia has relaunched a recycling initiative aimed at enabling the 11 million mobile-phone users in Uganda to dispose of old and unwanted devices, chargers and mobile accessories.

The recycling was initially launched in Uganda in 2008 but was not a success. Nokia's phone-recycling initiative will help boost recycling efforts in Africa, where governments are actively looking for ways to find sustainable solutions to the increasing problem of electronic waste.

"Across the continent, we have only registered partial success with the exception of South Africa and Nigeria," said Elisabeth Tanguy, Nokia's senior sustainability manager for Middle East and Africa, at the relaunch event last week.

"In South Africa and Nigeria, I can confidently say we have registered a lot of success, but we are going to do everything possible to see success across the continent, and that is why we are relaunching this campaign in Uganda," Tanguy said.

The recycling initiative offers a structured scheme of eliminating old mobile phones and accessories by dropping them off at designated Nokia centers.

Tanguy said 100 percent of the material in Nokia phones can be used again to make new products, or generate energy.

Nokia has set up collection points at designated centers to collect the mobile phones and accessories, which are then passed to selected companies for recycling in order to ensure proper end-of-life treatment of the e-waste. In Uganda the authorized drop-off points double up as customer-care centers. Dorothy Ooko, Nokia's head of communications for the East and Southern Africa region, explained the Ugandan campaign was not a success partly because people wanted something in return for their old devices.

"Consumers will receive recycled items in exchange for the phone or accessory they bring during the campaign," Ooko said.

Ooko said the Ugandan market reflects global survey findings that show that very few consumers are aware that they can recycle their unused mobile devices and accessories.

Ooko added that Nokia is developing a series of campaigns and activities to give people more information on why, how and where to recycle their old and unwanted devices, chargers and mobile accessories.

The handset maker will also increase the number of collection bins at their care centers, promoting them to create greater awareness. Nokia accepts competitors' products for recycling as well, Ooko said.

According to the GSM Association (GSMA), the number of mobile connections is set to rise by 70 percent to 8 billion by 2020, as the industry builds out a new generation of mobile broadband networks bringing billions of people into the information economy. Tanguy said this will mean more mobile devices and accompanying accessories. Nokia runs 5,000 collection points in 85 countries for its recycling program. If the 4.6 billion people using mobile phones globally recycled at least one of their old phones, the world could save 370,000 metric tons of raw materials, she said.

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