The new plant was launched in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Workers at the facility will dismantle end-of-life mobile phones by hand and send the materials to France for recycling.

According to Orange, the project is part of its commitment to encourage recycling of mobile devices and promote the creation of partnerships in Africa that aim to support the implementation of local initiatives.

This is Orange’s fifth mobile collection facility in Africa. The first of these collection and dismantling facilities for mobile phones was opened in March 2010 in Burkina Faso. Others followed in Benin, Madagascar and Niger.

Each facility is run by six local employees. More than ten tonnes of mobile waste is collected each year and sent to France for recycling, according to Orange.

In France, a recycling firm called Morphosis takes direct delivery of containers of waste from the five African collection facilities.

On receipt from the containers Morphosis sorts the waste into different types by material. It then processes the waste and extracts the rare metals that can be re-used in the manufacture of new products and devices.

To date, across the five facilities, more than 140 tonnes of mobile waste have been collected and set to France for recycling, and more than 30 long-term jobs have been created.

In a statement, Orange said: “Mobile use is growing fast in Africa making it a major environmental issue.

“There are already 500 million mobile devices on the continent as well as millions of discarded handsets which are often simply thrown away or burned due to the lack of recycling facilities in the majority of African countries.

“For Orange which is present as a network operator in 20 African countries the recycling of mobile phone waste is one of the major commitments of its CSR policy.”

Liz Gyekye

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