A new cultural, entrepeneurial company is looking to spread its way across Egypt with a single idea: thinking before putting your computers, cell phones, or televisions – no longer of any value – into storage or onto the rubbish tip.
RecycloBekia is the first enterprise concerned solely with the collection of electronic disposal offering green recycling and safe date destruction to cpmbat the hazards of electronic waste along with conserving natural resources.
Tanta University students are the masterminds behind RecycloBekia. They were able to turn their novel idea into a viable business plan after winning the first prize in a contest organized by Injaz Egypt – a program that supports start-ups by promoting financial literacy skills and entrepreneurial mind sets.
The idea stemmed from the fact that Egypt overlooks the need for an e-waste management system to protect the environment.
“Most of the electrical and electronic equipment consist of valuable, recoverable materials including silver, gold, plastic and copper," Mostafa Hemdan, RecycloBekia CEO, said. "Consequently, recycling these components can save energy and natural resources."
Hemdan explained the disadvantages of piling up electronic disposal in landfill sites. “E-waste consists of toxic and hazardous metals, which rot gradually and – eventually – dissolve into the soil."
“This leads to contaminated water and food, or even worse, some are burned causing pollutant air emissions."
As a result of the absence of electronic recycling factories in Egypt, the company collects, dismantles, filters and sorts the electronic disposal, but then ship them off to factories in Germany to be recycled.
“The process of picking up the waste usually initiates with a form request being filled on our website by one of the local organizations, determining the exact amount of waste they want to get ride of,” Hemdan explained.
Then, RecycloBekia sends its own pick-up cars for free along with offering a “green partner” certificate. Sometimes, if the waste quantity given by any organization is large, the company pays for it in return.
Mobinil, Orange, Intel, Oracle, and ExxonMobil are among the organizations that have been added to a list of green companies who have made positive steps towards helping the environment by joining RecycloBekia.
However, RecycloBekia’s entry into the Egyptian start-up scene has not been without its obstacles.
“The country's unstable political situation has taken its toll on the company since our launch in 2011 coincided with the outbreak of the 25 January revolution,” Nahla al-Shami, CRM executive of RecycloBekia, said.
“Normally, foreign countries don’t welcome the idea of making deals on importing e-waste from a country already suffering from deteriorating economic circumstances.”
The team members have also waded through other challenges, which they are making an all-out effort to overcome.
“We aim to make a quantum leap in the culture of e-waste recycling among the people of the region through launching awareness campaigns in clubs, schools, universities, and exhibitions and encouraging them to give up their unused electronic devices for a good cause,” Shami said.
RecycloBekia plans to take electronics recycling to the next level in the near future. “Opening up the first electronic recycling factory in the Middle East and North Africa region is one of our aspirations that would establish a long-term plan for reviving the economy, and open doors to new job opportunities,” Hemdan said confidently.