Frequently Asked Questions

We often get questions, here are the answers to the most frequently asked ones:


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

For a new phone, or other workplace gadgets our customers buy or lease, we collect and responsibly recycle 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 consume a great product, you fund great recycling. One for One. 


Why would my organisation adopt this service? 

Well... because it is: 

  • Perfect for communication, employee engagement and story-telling purposes, as we turn IT gadgets into circularity symbols; 
  • The only realistic service to engage in circular or 'closed loop' IT; 
  • Highly appealing due to the impact created in emerging markets and because 'waste is turned into gold'; 
  • Very easy to implement (no effect on existing processes or agreements); 
  • Low cost and great impact-price balance; 
  • Auditable, proven, NGO supported and award-winning


How solid is this service?

CTL invested a lot in making waste-compensation a new norm for the IT industry. We have over 4 years of experience in offering this service to a wide variety of public and private organisation in Europe, the US and Australia. Our approach has been thoroughly checked by consultants, auditors and was adopted as a new norm by the leading NGO for sustainable IT certification in 2020. We work for organisations, such as Ingram Micro, Samsung and T-Mobile and service customers, such as KPMG and the Dutch national government. But most of all, we have over 8 years of experience in e-waste collection in Africa, where we prevented almost 3 million scrap phones from ending in the e-waste dump. 


How can my organisation implement your services? 

Firstly, 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 e.g. vendors and agreements. 

When a customer buys or reuses, it informs CTL of the quantity and types (not on a model basis, 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 an amount of a few euros per compensated device (at a 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 organisation's circular results with highly appealing content (pictures, text, video, etc.)


How can my organisation 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 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 by creating a closed loop. When you contact us, we will discuss the process. 


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

We 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, to make your new device waste-free. Contact us to discuss the process. 


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

We make reuse of phones (the process of selling them on the second hand market) waste-free by creating a closed loop. Most used phones will end up in emerging markets, where recycling is not facilitated. 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 in the African continent, it is not possible to properly recycle them locally - while there are 5 facilities in Europe. This means that phones currently end up as hazardous waste at end-of-life. This results in health and environment risks.


Why do we 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 organisations to ensure local recycling of electronic waste becomes available in Africa. 


Is shipping phones more polluting than mining?

Shipping leads to CO2 emissions. However, collecting, shipping and recycling scrap phones is far less polluting compared to traditional mining. This is true for the CO2 emissions and the prevention of other chemicals from being released into our environment.


Why is urban mining 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, the environment and 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 are in need of materials to be able to manufacture new phones. By offering these materials on these market we have closed the loop. The materials can also be bought by other manufacturers of, for example, jewellery. 


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

  • You contribute to sustainability target while buying or disposing of IT devices;
  • Your organisation will have an attractive way of involving employees (and their devices) in being sustainable;  
  • 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;
  • 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 able to get an income via jobs as phone collectors and entrepreneurs. Already more than 2000 people benefited and earned additional income;
  • Less environmental damage as the phone did not end up on a landfill;
  • Less pollution, hazardous waste and health issues.


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

No! Your organisation can add our service very easily to your current contracts (with your reseller or other provider). We already work with many of them. Our approach is very easy to implement, also for new providers.


My company already uses refurbished hardware, isn't that enough?

Using refurbished phones and other devices is great! This way you get good products for a fair price and you extend the life cycle, thus saving the need for even more extracting of minerals.

CTL's approach brings other benefits: we allow you to engage in sustainable procurement and can help your reuse process to become circular. And that's great, because it delivers a highly appealing story, employee engagement, a great way to get started on 'circularity', global impact and an implementation of organisational values into your IT policy. 


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 cycle is extended, thus saving the need for even more extracting of minerals. 

CTL's approach brings other benefits: we allow you to engage in sustainable procurement and can help your reuse process to become circular. And that's great, because it delivers a highly appealing story, employee engagement, a great way to get started on 'circularity', global impact and an implementation of organisational values into your IT policy. 


What about my data on the phone?

Closing the Loop does not handle your used phones itself. We can assist in the disposal process. We 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.