Frequently Asked Questions



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

This means that a new electronic device (a device added to the market) is linked to the collection and responsible recycling of an equivalent amount of electronic waste. The waste is collected in countries where formal waste collection is lacking. That means that additional waste reduction is realized. This waste reduction is used to ‘compensate’ the new device, which then becomes waste-neutral. The service is also referred to as ‘One for One’. 


Why would my organization use this service? 

There are several reasons. These include that the service makes your devices better aligned with your (company) values. And it makes the devices more appealing and different than others. Next to that:

  • It offers a perfect first step towards greener/circular use of electronics
  • Makes device use more sustainable, in a risk-free, low cost and effortless way
  • It increases customer or user engagement
  • Positive impact is created in several ways (e.g. carbon reduction, job creation and many more)
  • It’s auditable, proven, NGO supported and award winning
  • And perfect for communication, employee engagement, and story-telling purposes, as IT devices become positive symbols. 


How solid is this service?

We have over seven years of experience in Europe, the United States, and Asia in implementing waste compensation. Our way of working has been assured and is certified by the leading NGO for sustainable IT certification in 2020. The service is used by large organisations such as Ingram Micro, Samsung, Vodafone, KPMG, and the Government of the Netherlands. 


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

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, CTL is notified of the quantity and types (just ''X number of phones, X number of laptops''). CTL compensates the customer's purchase by collecting an equivalent amount of e-waste in a developing country. We charge a small, fixed fee to compensate a device. The collection is registered in an auditable supply chain tool called Chainpoint, and CTL can also enrich your organization's waste compensation 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 selling (or leasing out) of new devices more sustainable. Those devices can be compensated by collecting scrap phones in Africa on your behalf. We help to turn ‘sustainable’ or  “circular’ tech into something that resonated with your brand, your customers and society, today. And we do this without hassle or risks for our customers.  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 making new devices wate-neutral. We do this in a very practical, safe, low cost and appealing way; by collecting and recycling an equivalent amount of scrap in the emerging world, which makes your new device waste neutral. Contact us to discuss the process. 


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

Proper collection and management of electronic waste is not facilitated in African countries. When phones become end-of-life on the African continent, it is not possible to properly recycle them locally. On the contrary, there are five proper facilities in Europe. The waste that we collect would otherwise not be formally collected, let alone properly recycled. That increased waste reduction is used to compensate our customers’ devices.


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 is much less polluting. 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 e-waste 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 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 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 further: we allow you to engage in sustainable procurement. Why is that interesting? Because it allows IT to implement organizational values into its policies, it delivers a highly appealing story, creates more employee engagement, is a great way to get started on circularity, and delivers 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.