WEEE Leapfrog!

Landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world. What if the developing countries could leapfrog to sustainable waste treatment systems where scarce natural resources can be recycled and health and environmental problems avoided? And at the same time create jobs and healthy businesses?

Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as computers, TV-sets, fridges and cell phones is one the fastest growing waste streams in the world. WEEE is a complex mixture of materials and components that because of their hazardous content can cause major environmental and health problems, if not managed properly. Moreover, the production of modern electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources. Therefore, the treatment and recycling of electronics at the end of their life is essential.

Increasing amount of WEEE is a severe and growing problem in many developing countries. For example, in Bangladesh, rapid urbanization and economic growth are big factors behind the increasing amount of WEEE but on top of that, used equipment from developed countries is being sent to Bangladesh often through illegal routes. As Bangladesh does not have a proper recycling system for WEEE, lot of the stuff ends up in landfills where children risking their health often scavenge it.

With these aspects, our solution is to bring WEEE recycling culture and its application technologies in a clean, environment and society friendly way- by WEEE hubs. WEEE hubs designed for an easy way of recycling. These hubs are little hydrometallurgy labs which strategically located on the places where most electronic devices are used by people, like universities, maintenance offices, computer cafeterias (which is a culture in Bangladesh) etc. These hubs will provide people to reach easily and sell their broken and unfixable electronic devices. We are also creating solutions to the potential problematic issues. The question of this concept is- how large system we need to create a win-win solution, while extracting valuable metals such as gold copper and aluminum from WEEEs and let the local people earn some money from their trash, however, at the same time keeping the hazardous solid and liquid waste away from the common areas. Our answer is hidden in our little WEEE hubs; they will let us do the business cleaner and send the products to the bigger refineries outside the cities. We would like to create a sustainable recycling culture, a responsible societies for better future.

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”

Recycle WEEE every day!

Written by,
The Toads: Annukka Aaltonen, Kirsi Hakalahti, Mikko Pietilä, Shariful Islam, Tekin Uyan, Tommi Kauppinen