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November 2009

Reuse & Recycle:

From Waste to Opportunity

Growing Green Businesses

To curb e-waste in developing countries, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Microsoft are jointly working towards new income generating opportunities through the innovative re-use and recycling of second-hand ICT equipment.
In 2008, both partners launched the computer refurbishment programme which offers affordable, safe and much-needed computers to consumers at the bottom of the economic pyramid. The refurbished computer program includes responsible take-back solutions of hardware at the end of its useful life.

Im certain a new industrial revolution is just around the corner, and this time it will be green.
Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO

The E-Waste Challenge

Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, with an estimated 20-50 million tons being generated annually. As developing countries are joining the global information society, the quantity of electronic hardware is growing even more rapidly. Electric and electronic equipment, new or second-hand, will eventually become obsolete and requires responsible reuse and recycling solutions Most developing countries lack the infrastructure, know-how and regulatory frameworks for sound reuse and recycling of hazardous waste. E-waste contains a number of unsafe substances which can leak into groundwater if disposed of in conventional landfills, or pollute the air when incinerated.

Fast facts on reuse and recycling

 Less than 1% of e-waste is recycled safely in developing countries  200 million computers and 550 million mobile phones reached the end of their life in 2008  Compared to PC disposal, computer reuse creates 296 more jobs for every 10,000 tons of material disposed each year  Only 13% of annual e-waste (over 50 million tons) reaches the waste stream.  Canada supports the worlds largest government sponsored PC-refurbishment program for schools.

Impact & Innovation Through Partnerships

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Responsible reuse and recycling of electronic hardware can trigger a range of environmental, social and economic benefits for developing countries. Extending the life span of electric and electronic equipment through refurbishment can substantially reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturers. Refurbished computers are available at approximately one-third the price of a new PC, thus offering more affordable access to ICT. In developing countries, e-waste recycling is mostly dealt by the informal sector with suboptimal procedures resulting in lower recovery rates and dangerous exposure to environmental and health risks. With adequate technology, training and regulatory frameworks and support, e-waste recycling can positively contribute to the conservation of natural resources, energy savings, a reduction of emissions including greenhouse gases and the development of green technologies. In addition, e-waste recycling offers the potential for job creation.

Technical assistance services offered by UNIDO include computer refurbishment for the reuse of IT equipment and industrial upgrading programs to address e-waste collection and the reduction of pollutants in developing economies. UNIDO and Microsoft partnered under the Green Industry Initiative in 2008 to help create Uganda Green Computers Company Ltd (UGCCL). UGCCL is a social enterprise that imports quality tested PCs from UK-based RDC, refurbishes them locally based on international best practises, and sells them at affordable rates to local communities. The project contains a full life-cycle solution which includes the local disassembly of PCs at the end of their useful life into reusable components, which are either resold, locally recycled or exported back partners in Europe.

UNIDOs network of National Cleaner Production Centers (NCPC)

The UNIDO Cleaner Production (CP) programme and network aims at building national CP capacities, fostering dialogue between industry and government and enhancing investments for transfer and development of environmentally sound technologies. There are currently 42 countries on five continents with NCPCs.

From Concept to Action: UNIDOs Green Industry Initiative

Rapid economic growth in much of the developing world has lifted millions of people out of poverty. But it has also led to increases in the consumption of energy, water and other raw materials. This is contributing to natural resource depletion, environmental degradation and greater greenhouse gases emissions. UNIDOs Green Industry Initiative promotes industrial development that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Microsoft shares UNIDOs vision of supporting sustainable business models, it has been an integral private sector partner in the initiative and is working to provide expertise on an integrated solution to address the full life-cycle of PCs.

NCPC Worldwide Locations

TRANSFORMING E-WASTE from a problem to sustainable business opportunities

NEW OPPORTUNITIES 1. PC disposal services 2. Refurbishing for reuse 3. Recycling for raw materials


Impact & Innovation Through Partnerships

November 2009

Green Industry Success Stories

Uganda Green Computer Company

Uganda Green Computer Company (UGCCL) is a computer refurbishment center of excellence established by the Ugandan private sector, with support from the Government of Uganda. It is a profit-making social enterprise that has brought new technical tools and industrial knowledge to Uganda, raising the countrys refurbishment and recycling capabilities of used PCs to global standards. This has created new jobs in Ugandas fledgling green businesses sector and has set new standards of service for local organizations looking to dispose of PC assets in a secure and sustainable way. In addition, it has created a network of distribution partners who sell refurbished PCs across the country for less than one-third of the price of a new PC, providing SMEs with affordable access to ICT. Partnerships both within Uganda and internationally allow UGCCL to ensure full recycling of PCs with zero landfill. As part of the creation of UGCCL, Microsoft and UNIDO played a key role of bringing stakeholders and additional partners together in Uganda and internationally. They also offered technical expertise in the development of the UGCCL business plan through a Uganda market study and e-waste study.

Project Highlights
 Secondary A-brand computers with genuine software
UGCCLs facility in Uganda provides low-cost PCs to the local population

 Computer prices start at US $175  1 year warranty and after-sales support  10,000 PCs refurbished a year  Responsible end-of-life recycling solutions The company not only offers affordable PC solutions for people who otherwise couldnt afford a new PC, but also provides warranties, genuine software and end-of-life take back guaranteespresenting a complete PC lifecycle model. The model of computer refurbishment set up in Uganda can be used as a reference point to guide the many countries that have expressed interest in setting up similar refurbishment centers as a solution to managing their e-waste and providing affordable PCs to entrepreneurs.

At UGCCL, components such as plastic from the garbage stream are now being collected locally and handled in one central place, while CRT screens are shipped back to Europe for recycling. This way we offer a full take-back solution.
Robert Tumwine, Team-Leader, UGCCL

Impact & Innovation Through Partnerships

November 2009

A Competent Green Partner

UK-based RDC is Europes largest IT Asset Recovery Services provider, and over the past 12 years has become a leader in providing environmentally responsible solutions to the handling of used computer equipment. The PC-Reuse and Recycling enterprise makes computer refurbishment expertise available for replication in developing countries and enables recipient PC refurbishment centers to adopt international quality standards, environmental management, and health & safety regulations. RDC served a critical role throughout the implementation of the Uganda Green Computer Company (UGCCL) by training staff, transfer of know-how involving state-of-the-art equipment and systems, and launching a take-back system for responsible environmental management.
RDC refurbishment center in the UK

Quick Facts
 More than 4 million PCs refurbished and recycled at RDC
over the last 8 years

 RDCs revenue from refurbishing and selling PCs topped

US $40 million in 2007, charting a 100% growth trajectory over a 5 year period

Computer refurbishment provides access to general IT skills, broadens the IT skills base both in schools and business, creates new businesses and jobs, and provides a sustainable solution to the issue of responsibly handling used IT equipment of all kindsa challenge shared by all countries.
Gerry Hackett, Managing Director, RDC

RDCs refurbishment process involves equipment audits, data-wipes and safety-test measures which results in the reuse of nearly 80% of used IT equipment. Along with all nonworking equipment and components, over 98% of packaging and general waste is also recycled through this process, and accounts for less than 1% of total initial volume of waste materials. The success of RDCs business model illustrates that the computer refurbishment business not only helps to bridge the digital divide and helps the environment by reducing the growing mountains of e-waste, but can be a commercially viable venture as well.

Impact & Innovation Through Partnerships