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Sweeping e-scrap from the streets of Buenos Aires

Argentina – The city government of Buenos Aires has launched a new electronics recycling campaign with NGO Recycling Work and Dignity to shape a ‘green society’.

Up to 290 000 tonnes of e-scrap is generated in Argentina each year – or 2.5kg worth of e-scrap per inhabitant. Around 40% of Argentina’s e-waste consists of IT and telecommunications equipment, with more than ten million mobile phones reaching being discarded in the past two years. A fair portion of all this e-scrap is generated in Buenos Aires, which is home to over three million residents.

Besides committing to reducing municipal solid waste sent to landfill by 75% in 2017, the city is eagerly renewing its e-cycling efforts. The new take-back campaign for unwanted electronics was kicked off last month and covers anything from small consumer products like tablets and phones to bulky white goods and IT products, comments Cecilia Allen, deputy manager for solid urban waste and green spaces at Buenos Aires’ environmental protection agency.

‘The pieces that are still useful will be fixed – NGO extends the service life of as much equipment as possible,’ Allen says. She adds the recycling of the metal and plastic content in e-scrap provides good job prospects for a lot of people in the region. Earlier editions of the scheme collected over 51 000 units of scrapped electronics for recycling since 2013.

Despite the reasonable success, Allen laments that the Buenos Aires ‘still lacks the much-needed channels to collect phones, keyboards, printers etc.’

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