Dell recently launched the East Africa Compliant Recycling – the region’s first large-scale e-waste recycling facility and also created a new e-waste business in the country.
The hub was designed to help women in Kenya’s Mukuru slums to make money out of selling e-waste collected from the slums and from around the country.
According to Intel, in developing countries, e-waste has monetary value. That value, combined with the lack of a sustainable e-waste recycling infrastructure in East Africa, likely would have abated the effectiveness of common regulatory approaches to funding and managing e-waste collection and recycling, such as import fees. Those means also could make computing less affordable for Kenyan citizens and public and private-sector organizations.
The four hubs set up-shipping container-housed collection points located throughout the country will each act as collection points and independent small businesses, purchasing e-waste from newly-trained individual collectors to sell to the main hub set up in the city. Dell plans to roll out forty more.
TechMoran caught up with Jean Cox Kearn, Dell Director of Compliance and this is what she told us.
We learned that Kenya is the first where Dell is running this initiatives, why Kenya?
There are three separate initiatives in Kenya:-
1. The development of a regulation to suit the new recycling model being implemented – this has been led by the ‘E-Waste Solutions Alliance for Africa’ comprising of Dell, HP, Nokia, Philips and Reclaimed Appliances UK limited.
2. The development of the Recycling Infrastructure that will be supported by the new regulation – primarily led by Reclaimed Appliances Uk Ltd, who have now created EACR (East Africa Compliant Recycling) working with Industry.
3. The Microfinancing of womens groups to create collection networks – this is a Dell project.
How much has Dell invested in this Kenyan operation?
Dell has invested 3 years of in-kind support, regularly travelling to support meetings, helping with the development of the solution. We have financed two collection points in Nairobi and Mombasa and we are separately financing collection networks.
Any plans to launch more of these hubs and where?
Ideally Kenya will become a hub for East Africa but we are also working in a number of other African countries and in other regions globally influencing legislation and ensuring that the models implemented are the ones that suite the economic environment of the country.
What’s Dell’s expertise on this?
Dell has been working on Take Back programs since 1999 and has many programs available globally that support our work – All details can be easily found here.
How sustainable and independent are the projects without Dell?
These project will continue to be supported by Dell, but the overall structure of them should mean that they will continue to be effective irrespective of any individual producers participation. For Dell however we believe that where we are is just the first big step, we now need to see the regulation implemented and working so that Kenya can be really showcased as the new working Model for E-Waste in developing countries.
There will be many collection points across Kenya that will create hundreds of green jobs. There will be opportunities for both men and women within the overall collection network. What Dell has done at Mukuru is to enable women to also become collectors of e-waste in an environment where many of the households are women led.
How will the project help Dell gain significant PC market share in Kenya?
This project is mostly about showcasing Dell’s commitment to the environment and to our new Legacyof Good. We believe that by investing in the solution in Kenya we are demonstrating that we are responsible for our brand. We have other programs in Kenya where we are supporting education through IT. All of these programs should help to drive awareness of our brand and how it can be utilized to enable people to grow and thrive.