By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Ana Stoddart
Have you ever wondered what happened to your first computer, mobile phone or where did your Tamagoshi end up?
Electronic waste is a raising concern in our modern society, with product life cycles shortening, new trends and features constantly changing which quickly displace current technology; much of the obsolete gadgets, machines and devices end up dumped. This brings about several environmental and health related hazards, if the waste is not properly treated, then the heavy metal components decompose and toxic substances are set free, polluting the air and soil.
Reciclarg, a small family owned enterprise in Mendoza, Argentina, is a pioneer in the region for electronic waste treatment and recycling. It aims to close the products life cycle, by dissembling the appliances, separating heavy metals (which are later shipped abroad for further treatment), recycling pieces and creating a secondary market items to continue its usage.
Much of its inputs relays on the household as well as private sector wastage, hence, the recollection of the e-waste is a core aspect to the business. At first, the company struggled to get organizations to pay a small fee for the delivery of their waste to the dissembling warehouse; so there was quite a sporadic and spatial input supply which complicated carrying out the business plan. In order to solve this, Reciclarg installed several “Green Points” in public locations with high concurrence such as universities and town halls, and since then, it has been working on some partnership agreements to reduce the collection costs. This seemed to have paid off well as every semester the pick-up frequency seems to increase, revealing that citizens have become more engaged with properly disposing their artefacts and keeping the planet clean.
The company has always worked hard on the promotion, networking and education aspects of recycling. At an international level, it forms part of the B change, a platform for entrepreneurs engaged in improving the communities and environment, and it has also been included in a modern application allGreenup to measure your environmental impact. At a national level, this small-scale business helped set the discussion on the adequate waste treatment needed, which has led to decree environmental laws.
In addition, efforts on increasing public awareness on the topic are constant. One of the latest programs targets children, so a better understanding of consumption and waste are gained at an early age, this knowledge later on is transmitted into their household. This seems to have been working well so far, especially with the new board games, shiny toys and decorative ornaments made out of recycled pieces, e-waste is becoming trendy among the youth. The next campaign the company is working on, wants to engage artists with these no traditional materials.
…So maybe after all these years, your Tamagoshi has not gone to waste, and there is a chance it may soon be hanging on a Museum’s wall or someone’s key ring.
Personal Communication with the Managing Director, Mr. Farid Nallim (9 Aug 2015)
Reciclarg, available online: http://reciclarg.com/reciclarg (Visited 10 Aug 2015)