Increasing prosperity, altered consumer behaviour and population growth lead to an increasing amount of old and disused electronic devices. However, only a small amount of electronic waste in Europe is appropriately recycled. The remaining is exported into developing countries. Furthermore, the consumption of electronic devices also increases in developing countries. As a result, large electronic waste dumps were established. The biggest is located in Agbogbloshie, a district of Ghana’s capital Accra. Old electronic devices, such as televisions, fridges and computer are gutted and cables and tires are burned on the field. The unsound recycling leads to large environmental and health damage by heavy metals and long-living toxic organic compounds, such as dioxins. On the other hand, it is the living fundament of many people who earn money by selling the received raw materials. More than 10000 people are working on the waste dump in Agbogbloshie including children who do not go to school. A lot of workers come from Northern Ghana or neighbouring countries.
Aim of this project is the development of environmental friendly and more fertile processes for the dismantling of electronic devices in preferably homogenous fractions. The received raw materials shall either be sold or be used for the fabrication to new implements. The dismantling processes will be established in autonomous containers at our partner universities in Ghana. The project will be implemented in a joint German-Ghanaian team. In a second realization step, we plan to transport the containers to Agbogbloshie and to incorporate them into the local recycling industry. The local workers shall be intensively trained in the properly dismantling of electronic devices. In cooperation with further organizations working on side we aim that the developed environmental appropriate recycling processes will be applied by the local workers and, finally, that a sound industry with formal employment will be established.
The regional groups in Bayreuth, Germany and at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa, Ghana, currently work on the establishment of our first container. The first process will be the dismantling of computers and laptops. First steps were already done. The first container was purchased and now stands in Tarkwa (see pictures below). The completion of our first container including process development is planned until February 2019.