CAIRO: The Embassy of Switzerland has signed an agreement with Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology titled “Sustainable Recycling Industries in Egypt” which aims at supporting sustainable integration and participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in recycling of electronic waste in Egypt.
Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is one of the fastest-growing types of waste worldwide and includes discarded electrical or electronic equipment such as old televisions, mobile phones and batteries. Toxic substances inside e-waste, including lead, can cause pollution and health problems if improperly disposed of through methods like incineration.
On the other hand, e-waste also contains important secondary non-renewable materials such as copper. Disposal of such valuable materials means that they are lost forever and cannot be reused. This pushes countries worldwide to mine for new materials. E-waste recycling therefore has three crucial benefits: reduction of pollution, conservation of precious natural resources, and creation of new business opportunities.
The two-year agreement signed between the Embassy of Switzerland and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, valued at 1.17 million Swiss francs, will contribute to the Green Information and Communication Technology national strategy of Egypt; the basis for e-waste related initiatives in Egypt, and coordinated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment.
“The E-waste sustainable recycling industries is one of the new industries in Egypt that fulfils the five standards of the sustainability framework (Economy, Environment, Equity, Efficiency, and Effectiveness),” said Engineer Khaled Lotfy El Attar, Director, Information Technology Infrastructure Sector, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of Egypt.
The “Sustainable Recycling Industries in Egypt” project signed between Switzerland and Egypt has three primary goals. The first is to contribute to the promotion of policies and standards for the sustainable management of secondary resources. The second is to create local capacities for sustainable recycling industries, and the third is to provide cities across Egypt and other countries with access to experiences developed under the project.
“The ‘Sustainable Recycling Industries’ project will turn electronic waste into job and income opportunities. Through financial, administrative, legal and technical support, the project encourages small and medium-sized Egyptian companies to develop a viable business by recycling electronic waste in a safe and environmentally friendly way,” said Markus Leitner, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Egypt.
In 2011, the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), with the support of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Sciences and Technologies (Empa) and under consultation of the stakeholders related to Egypt’s Green ICT initiative, executed a needs assessment of the E-Waste Sector in Egypt. Based on this assessment, the “Sustainable Recycling Industries in Egypt” project was developed.
The project is expected to be completed by December 2017. It comes within the framework of Switzerland’s wider partnership with Egypt. Switzerland provides funding of more than 20 million Swiss francs annually in development projects across Egypt in three domains: economic development and employment, democratic transition and human rights, and migration and protection.
The preceding was a press release by the Swiss Embassy to Egypt and does not reflect the editorial policy of The Cairo Post.