Nokia expands mobile-phone recycling initiative in Africa

Nokia has expanded its previously announced free recycling program for its cell phones and batteries in East Africa.

Nokia, the world's largest mobile-handset maker, announced last year that it would set up mobile-phone recycling collection centers in rural and urban areas across East Africa. The initiative is part of Nokia's environmental policy of reducing electronic waste.

Uganda became the fifth African country to adopt the "take-back" campaign, following the February launches of the initiative in Kenya in East Africa and Nigeria, Senegal and the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Nokia has set up "take-back" collection points at all of its authorized customer care centers in those countries. In Uganda, Midcom and Simba Telecom are the authorized centers.

"Nokia wants to ensure that the environment in which we do business is protected," said Nicholas Maina, Nokia East Africa's customer care manager, during the launch of the campaign in Kampala last week. "That is why we are asking customers who may not know how to dispose of their mobile phones and accessories to bring them to our care centers for safe disposal or recycling."

From the collection centers, the discarded phones and accessories will be shipped to Europe for recycling. The company will only use recyclers that comply with Nokia's recycling standards, Maina said. Nokia has a recycling plant in Europe and is considering setting up a similar facility in Africa.

The campaign is due to launch in South Africa and Cameroon next month.

Electronic waste is expected to skyrocket as users upgrade electronics such as mobile phones and computers more often.

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