Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In order to save you time, here are the answers to the questions we get asked most often:

 

What does Closing the Loop (CTL) mean when it says it compensates phones, tablets, and laptops? 

For every new workplace device our customers buy or lease, we collect and responsibly recycle an equivalent amount of electronic waste in countries that lack formal recycling capacity. Our work makes your purchase waste free and is often described as the global version of Extended User Responsibility. 

The basic idea: you use a great product, you fund great recycling. One for One. 

 

Why would my organization use CTL’s service? 

Several reasons. 

  • The only realistic service to engage in circular or “closed loop IT”
  • Highly appealing due to the impact it has in developing countries 
  • Waste is turned into gold 
  • Very easy to implement (no effect on existing processes or agreements) 
  • Low cost and great impact-to-price balance 
  • Auditable, proven, NGO supported and award winning
  • Perfect for communication, employee engagement, and story-telling purposes, as we turn IT devices into circularity symbols. 

 

How solid is this service?

We are the leader by far, with many years of experience in e-waste collection in Africa, where we have prevented almost 3 million scrap phones from ending up in e-waste dumps. 

We have over four years of experience in Europe, the United States, and Australia selling waste compensation as a service. Our approach has been thoroughly checked by consultants and auditors. We are the norm creators: our approach was adopted as a new norm by the leading NGO for sustainable IT certification in 2020. Ingram Micro, Samsung, T-Mobile, KPMG, and the Government of the Netherlands work with us. 

And we are thinking big. CTL is dedicated to making waste compensation a new norm for the IT industry.

 

How can my organization get started compensating our e-waste? 

Here’s the good news. Our customers do not have to change their current IT/procurement setup. Our service is simply added to the existing processes and does not require a change of vendors or agreements. 

And it’s way easy: When a customer makes a new purchase or reuses, they notify CTL of the quantity and types (just ''X number of phones, X number of laptops''). CTL compensates the customer's purchase and/or disposal by collecting an equivalent amount of e-waste in Africa. We charge a few euros per compensated device (maximum of 5 euros per phone, or 15 euros per laptop). The collection is registered in an auditable supply chain tool called Chainpoint, and CTL can also enrich your organization's circular results with highly appealing content (case studies, infographics, pictures, text, video, etc.)

 

How can my organization work with Closing the Loop? 

Our services are used to make two moments more sustainable: the lease or purchase of new devices and the reuse of used ones. By collecting scrap phones in Africa on your behalf, we help to facilitate sustainable and circular procurement for your new devices, or we help make the reuse process of your used devices sustainable. Contact us, and we’ll lay out the process. 

 

How can I make the purchase or leasing of my organization's new devices more sustainable?

We have two options for you, both of which make your procurement process more sustainable by compensating your waste footprint. We do this in a very practical way; by collecting and recycling an equivalent amount of scrap phones in Africa, which makes your new device waste free. Contact us to discuss the process. 

 

How can I make the reuse of my used devices more sustainable?

By closing the loop. We make reuse of phones (the process of selling them on the secondhand market) waste free by creating a closed loop. Most used phones will end up in emerging markets where recycling is not well developed or available at all. By collecting and recycling African scrap phones, we close the loop and ensure your reuse process becomes circular. Feel free to contact us to discuss the process.

 

Why does Closing the Loop collect phones in Africa instead of Europe?

When phones become end-of-life on the African continent, it is not possible to properly recycle them locally – while there are five facilities in Europe. Europe can do this work well. 

 

Why does Closing the Loop ship the phones all the way from Africa to Europe? 

There is no proper recycling facility on the African continent. Therefore, we ship the mobile phones to the nearest recycling plant, which is in Europe. CTL works with a variety of organizations to ensure local recycling of electronic waste becomes available in Africa. 

 

Is shipping phones more polluting than mining?

This is a clear case of a hands-down winner: shipping the phones. Shipping does generate CO2 emissions, but mining is destructive on many levels, and collecting, shipping, and recycling scrap phones is far less polluting than traditional mining. 

 

What is urban mining and how is it better than traditional mining?

Urban mining is the process of converting waste products into new materials, in effect recovering materials that have already been mined or produced before. Traditional or virgin mining has a huge impact on people, it creates environmental damage, and exacerbates climate change, so it should only be done when there are no secondary materials available.

IT hardware is packed with useful materials like gold, silver, and copper (see full overview for phones), even if the phone is completely broken. Via urban mining, we can give these metals a new life and prevent the need for even more traditional mining. 

 

What does Closing the Loop do with the urban mined materials?

The urban mined materials that we as Closing the Loop recover from our collected and recycled phones will be offered to the material market to reuse them. For example, the recovered materials can be bought by IT manufacturers as they need materials to be able to manufacture new phones. By offering these materials on these markets, we have closed the loop. The materials can also be bought by other manufacturers such as jewelry makers. 

 

What are the gains that result from Closing the Loop's work?

  • You contribute to your company/organization’s sustainability target while buying or disposing of IT devices
  • Your organization will have an attractive way of involving employees (and their devices) in being #green
  • Your devices will be made waste free, in an easy, low-cost and appealing way
  • You reduce global e-waste (the fastest growing waste stream)
  • You can make a start with implementing circular operations in your company
  • You have a transparent and appealing way of communicating about your positive impact. Walk the talk.
  • You create income and jobs in emerging markets.

 

What do the people and the environment in African countries gain from collaborating with Closing the Loop?

  • People in Africa are engaged in profitable and useful jobs including entrepreneurs setting up, small companies collecting, and students working to pay for education. More than 2,000 people are employed in our efforts.
  • Landfills are toxic to humans, animals, the air and water. Preventing devices from ending up in landfills is a big achievement with real-life impacts. 

 

Do I need to change the contract with my current providers/suppliers?

No! Your organization can add our service very easily to your current contracts (with your reseller or other provider). We already work with many of them in the Netherlands. Our approach is very easy to implement, for your company and for providers/suppliers.

 

My company already uses refurbished hardware. Isn't that enough?

Using refurbished phones and other devices is great! You get good products for a fair price and you extend the life-span of what you use, thus eliminating the need for even more destructive mining and extraction of minerals.

CTL's approach can take you two steps further: we allow you to engage in sustainable procurement and can help you make your reuse process circular. Why is that interesting? Because it allows IT to implement organizational values into its policies, delivers a highly appealing story, employee engagement, a great way to get started on circularity, and – what really walks the talk – global impact.

 

My company already recycles or reuses our electronics. Isn't that enough? 

Ensuring your used phones and other devices get a second life is great! This way, others can buy your redundant products for a fair price and their life-span is extended, thus reducing the need for even more destructive mining and extraction of minerals. 

CTL's approach can take you two steps further: we allow you to engage in sustainable procurement and can help you make your reuse process circular. Why is that interesting? Because it allows IT to implement organizational values into its policies, delivers a highly appealing story, employee engagement, a great way to get started on circularity, and – what really walks the talk – global impact.

 

What about my data on the device?

CTL does not handle your used phones ourselves. We never see them. We can help you find the best reuse/disposal partners that provide certified data cleaning. And of course, we make sure the disposal process is made waste free by adding our service.