By Fatma Ibrahim
Old computers, mobile phones, televisions, printers and DVD players are often strewn across someone’s home, and they have no idea how to get rid of them. A new recycling company offers a green alternative to simply throwing these electronics in the garbage. RecycloBekia is an Egyptian electronic waste collection company that offers green recycling and data destruction. They offer environmentally sound solutions for ridding those outdated and unused devices that decorate the living room and cabinet shelves.
The company was founded by a group of students from Tanta University in 2011, during a contest organised by Injaz Egypt; a project that supports start-ups and charity projects. They finished in first place and won enough cash to make their electronic waste recycling idea a reality.
“The CEO, Mostafa Hemdan, along with the other team members knew that there is no such thing as electronic waste disposal in Egypt. So they started the company to pick up electronic waste from corporations, charity organisations and individuals,” Nahla El-Shami, the CRM executive of RecycloBekia, said. “We only collect and sort the waste, but the recycling process is done overseas in Asia and Europe, like in Germany or Belgium.”
El-Shami explained the process of the waste pickup. “The clients are welcome to give us a call or send us an email, determining the exact amount of waste they want to get rid of.”
When RecycloBekia sends someone to pick up the waste, the client is given a “green partner” certificate. The waste is then shipped off to facilities to be “filtered and sorted and then it gets sent to the port where it is shipped off to factories abroad to be recycled.”
The company picks up most of the waste for free so an obvious question is how the company operates sustainably. “We mostly depend on businessmen’s investments and on Injaz Egypt. The only profit we make is from the factories that receive the electronic waste,” El-Shami said.
With all green and environmental companies in Egypt come a few obstacles, which RecycloBekia is also not immune to. “The biggest stumbling block that we face is the lack of awareness about recycling in general,” El-Shami said.
“People still do not understand the crucial importance of recycling and the proper ways of waste disposal that will help keep the environment cleaner, and will ultimately lead to a greener Earth. El-Shami said the company also struggles with obtaining travel and custom permits, which can often become too expensive leading to financial difficulties.
“However, we hope to change all this by continuing to work hard, and hopefully the culture and the mindset of the government as well as the individuals will become more understanding of the importance of recycling, whether its electronic or paper and plastic.”
RecycloBekia is planning to open up the first electronic recycling factory in the Middle East and North Africa region. “This way we will not ship the waste abroad, we will recycle right here. It will create many job opportunities and help alleviate the economy,” El Shami added.