EGYPT – The government of Egypt has announced the launch of E-Tadweer, an app that helps improve recycling of e-waste in the North African country.

Launched two years after it was first presented, E-Tadweer allows users to dispose of old electronics at delivery points in exchange for vouchers that they can use to purchase new electronic products from partner stores.

E-waste has become the fastest-growing category of household waste in the world, according to a study by the World Health Organization.

Ahmed Fayez, an official at the Ministry of Environment said: “Users can subscribe to the E-Tadweer app and upload pictures of electronic devices they no longer need or old tools that no longer have a market.

“They can then head to the points designated by the app and hand over the devices. Users will then receive electronic vouchers provided by the companies that receive the waste.”

According to figures cited by the ministry, Egypt produces an estimated 90,000 tons of e-waste annually, 58 percent of which comes from the private sector, 23 percent from households, and 19 percent from the public sector.

“This electronic waste contains harmful chemicals such as mercury and lead, which can eventually reach the soil and water if the devices are not disposed of in the right way,” added Fayez.

Jamal Al-Muslimi, a member of the E-Tadweer team, added that the government was expected to announce several incentives for private companies working in waste management.

The World Health Organization has warned against using incorrect methods to remove materials from electronic waste, which has a significant impact on human health, especially on children.

The launch of the app comes at a time when the authorities in Egypt are considering changes in the policies about hazardous waste.

In the country hazardous waste is targeted specifically toward industries that produce and manufacture commodities, such as refrigerators.

Computers and mobile phones are not produced in Egypt, only assembled from imported parts, and thus do not fall under the category of hazardous waste.

The law is more intent on setting rules for production rather than on the management of it once it’s obsolete. As such, it goes to the scrap handlers, or informal recyclers.

With the formulation of better e-waste policies coupled with public-private sector collaboration, proper management of e-waste in the North African country is inevitable.

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