The South African province of Gauteng will soon have an electronic waste recycling plant. The project in the making will improve the collection, recycling and disposal of end-of-life electronic devices mainly in two cities.
According to The World Counts, 40 million tons of electronic waste are generated each year worldwide, but only 12.5% of this waste is recycled. In South Africa, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Gauteng Province Department of Electronic Administration are preparing to implement an e-waste management system.
The project, which will be launched on February 18, 2022, aims to address the growing problem of e-waste and the challenges of uncoordinated e-waste management in the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Unlocking Gauteng’s e-waste potential
As the economic center of South Africa, Gauteng Province accumulates significant amounts of e-waste due to the widespread use of electronic technologies such as home appliances, cell phones and computers by residents. According to the United Nations’ Global E- waste Monitor 2020 report, approximately 360,000 tons of e-waste is generated annually in South Africa, and Gauteng is responsible for about 55 percent of it.
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“When we see that an e-waste is not reusable, we dismantle it down to its smallest components, and the different metals are sent to different local dealers who melt the metal, recycle it and reuse it,” explains Simone Andersson, business manager of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Centre), a Utawala-based facility that receives e-waste destined for landfills.
Toward wealth creation in urban centers
The new e-waste recycling plant planned for Gauteng will further contribute to stimulating the economy in South Africa’s major cities by supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and creating jobs.
According to the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), South Africa has a large informal sector of 90,000 waste pickers who collect recyclable materials in major cities like Cape Town. In 2024, Cape Town will host the International Waste Congress. During this event, demonstrations of waste management technologies and technical tours of South African waste management facilities will take place. In conjunction with the event, construction of nine waste disposal facilities is underway in the Western Cape. Work on the first waste disposal site was launched in February 2020 in Mossel Bay.