One for One – scaling a proven initiative that reduces electronic waste

21 June 2022

A tech leader and circular innovator are bringing over 1 million old cell phones back into the cycle, each year

Context

The tech industry’s interest in circularity-based services has been growing in recent years. This is likely the result of growing political interest in the topic, made visible by the ‘EU Green Deal’ and the US ‘Right to repair’ act. At the same time, it’s also becoming clearer that customers prefer a greener choice, also for their beloved mobile devices. Combine that with the fact that non-recycled electronic waste is piling up in unimaginable numbers – 4000 Eiffel towers of scrap each year – plus the growing unrest in the world influencing resource prices and availability, and it’s hardly surprising that the tech industry is looking for ways to make consumption of electronics more sustainable.

Launch

Closing the Loop is a global pioneer that has developed a pragmatic and value-adding service to help ensure mobile phones – arguably one of the most iconic products in the world - contribute a bit more to a better world. Today, Closing the Loop announces an industry changing partnership with Vodafone in Germany. The leading mobile operator will work with Closing the Loop to scale Waste Compensation. This certified service was introduced in 2016 with two ambitions: to reduce the amount of electronics ending up in landfills in the emerging world, and to help tech buyers and sellers get started on the abstract concept called ‘circularity’ in a pragmatic and engaging way.

For every new phone sold by Vodafone to its customers in Germany, Closing the Loop will collect an end-of-life device in a country that lacks formal recycling capacity. A huge number of at least 1 million of devices will be compensated - and thus will also be collected – each year, as of June 1st 2022. This ‘one for one’ approach means that every person that buys a phone from Vodafone Germany will be made aware of their possibility to get started on making their device ‘greener’. It also means that jobs and income are created in countries such as Ghana, where people get paid to safely collect broken phones.