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 ‘offsets phones, tablets. laptops’?

For every new phone, or device our customers purchases or use, we collect and responsibly recycle (a0 scrap phone(s). Our work offsets your device, comparable to CO2 offsetting. Some regard this approach as the global version of Extended Producer Responsibility. The basic idea: you consume a great product, you fund great recycling. One for One.

How can my organisation work with Closing the Loop?

Our services are great to make two moments more sustainable: the purchase of new devices and the disposal of used ones. By collecting scrap phones on behalf of your organisation we either make your new devices material-neutral, or your used devices waste-free. When you contact us we will discuss the process.

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

We make new devices material-neutral by offsetting their material footprint, being the metals used to make the devices. We do this very practically; by collecting and recycling scrap phones in Africa, to offset your device. When you contact us we will discuss the process.

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

We make recommerce 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. We solve this by collecting and recycling scrap phones in Africa, to offset the used devices shipped to the emerging world. When you contact us we will 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 3 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.

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, jewelry. 

What does my organisation gain from working together with Closing the Loop?

  • 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 phones, 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.

However, 70% of all re-used mobile phones eventually end up in countries where there is no responsible recycling infrastructure.

That is where we come in and close the loop. By adding our service you make sure your devices actually reduce e-waste.

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 recommerce partners that provide certified data cleaning. And of course, we make sure the disposal process is made waste-free.