Egypt Independent

Egypt to collect electronic waste from citizens for money: Minister



Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad announced Saturday that she has reached an agreement with Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat to collect electronic waste from citizens in exchange for discounts on other electronic products.

The director of Medical and Electronic Waste Project at the Environment Ministry, Tarek al-Araby, said that the ministry aims to collect electronic waste from the official sector as well.

Statistics showcase that the government sector generates about 19 percent of electronic waste, he said, while the private sector creates 58 percent and households at 23 percent.

Araby explained that families typically sell electronic waste to mall-scale merchants of used products. Therefore the Environment Ministry is working to launch an electronic application to collect e-waste in exchange for discount vouchers on new products and adjust the auction process to sell e-waste from different government institutions.

He added that standards have also been set to prevent electronic waste from reaching the informal sector, which operates with a selection policy, as it currently only benefits from valuable parts and disposes the harmful ones in an unsafe manner.

These standards will ensure the safe disposal of dangerous parts and ensure the optimal use of valuable parts, he added.

He noted that the number of electronic waste recycling factories in Egypt which are operating officially, is now seven up from only one, and five other factories are being licensed to enter the field.

Fouad said that her ministry has taken serious steps regarding electronic waste management in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Electronic waste poses a myriad of risks to human health and the environment, she explained, and therefore it was necessary to begin organizing a way to facilitate their collection so that they can be sent to recycling factories.

Talaat praised the Environment Ministry’s efforts in waste management of all kinds.

He added that there is great cooperation between the two ministries regarding electronic waste as this issue requires the utmost attention –  which became clearly evident when the state issued a waste law to regulate work in this area.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology Khaled al-Attar said that an agreement is in place between Egypt and Switzerland to work together in managing electronic waste.

This agreement will provide the largest amount of electronic waste to factories and make a complete inventory of devices, he said, especially as Egypt undergoes a digital transformation causing an increase in the number of electronic devices in the country.