Closing the Loop

The Dutch company Closing the Loop has found a circular solution for used cell phones in Africa and Asia, for which it received the Dutch Circular Award 2018 and the nomination for the GLOMO Global Mobile Awards.

Every year, a billion cell phones are produced, most of which, after a generally short period of use, are sold to poorer countries in Africa and Asia. These "end of life" telephones are stored in garbage dumps or burned, even though they contain many valuable raw materials (gold, silver, copper, cobalt) that could be reused by the industry.

The founders of Closing the Loop proposed an effective solution to this problem, by offsetting materials. The "One to One" program works according to a simple rule: a company that buys telephones for its employees pays for a few euros for each camera, for which it will be financed to recycle one phone in Africa or Asia. Such broken apparatus is transported to the appropriate plant in Europe, where all raw materials are recovered.

To date, Closing the Loop has collected and recycled 2 million phones, including Ghana and Cameroon (the last container with 350,000 phones reached Europe at the beginning of February this year). CTL has also provided work to more than 4,000 people in Africa who are collecting and sorting phones.

Closing the Loop co-operates with 32 companies and organizations, including Rabobank and mobile operator T-mobile. Customers buying a telephone with this operator can take advantage of the Recycling Offer.

The solution proposed by CLP is called the Global Extended Producer Responsibility or the compensation program. Founders of Closing the Loop believe that if the customer "consumes a great product" it "finances a great recycling".