The Madurese and cell phone recycling

“This is all about the Madurese,” an Indonesian journalist whispered to his friend.

The thought of Madurese people popped into the journo’s mind when Francis Cheong, the regional environmental manager of cell phone producer Nokia briefed a group of journalists from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia about the company’s recycling program recently.

Madurese people are renowned for thriving in the business of waste and used goods. Scavengers can sell many kinds of waste from plastic, iron or wood and other unused materials to Madurese businessmen who usually act as collectors. They have their own customers and this sector is clearly a lucrative business.

In fact, the Madurese are so aggressive in this business that some of the steel and iron materials of the newly built Suramadu bridge — connecting Madura and Surabaya — has already gone missing.

Nokia invited journalists to Singapore — its recycling center for Southeast Asia — as part of its global campaign to encourage people to recycle their unused mobile phones and accessories.

The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer appointed the Singapore-based electronic recycler TES-AMM to recycle Nokia-used phones. But unlike the Madurese, who act more as scrap metal traders, the company is at the top-end of the recycling chain. It has adopted a hydrometallurgical recovery process for precious metals and a sophisticated pollution control system that does not release harmful dioxins or carbon dioxides into the atmosphere.

“Just like paper, plastic, glass and other recyclable materials, electronic equipment can also be recycled.

Materials such as steel, aluminum, copper even gold, silver and platinum can be recovered with considerable less energy cost than mining from the ground,” TES-AMM executive director Adrian Tan told journalists at his plant.

Nokia is confident about its environmental program.

“With 1 billion people using Nokia phones, we have the potential to influence and make a difference – [with regards to] products, services, the way we manage our operations and work with suppliers,” Cheong explained.

During a Give & Grow campaign encouraging people to voluntarily handover their telecommunication devices for recycling purposes carried out last year in Indonesia, Nokia collected more than 10,000 mobile phones.

In return, the company donated funds to finance the forestation of Ciliwung River area (upstream) in Cisarua, Bogor. There were more than 140 million cell phone users in Indonesia as of 2009.

Nokia claims it operates the largest voluntary mobile phone recycling scheme in the world — a truly a noble goal.

“Only 3 percent of people owning mobile devices claim to recycle them. If all of the around 4.6 billion people using mobile phones recycled at least one of their unwanted devices, this could save 370,000 tons of raw material and reduce gases to the same extent as taking 6 million cars of the streets,” Nokia says in a statement.


Madurese specialty: Several workers collect iron scrap from demolished buildings near the East Flood Canal in Cipinang Muara, East Jakarta. Madurese people are renowned for thriving in the business of waste and used goods. JP/P.J. Leo
The question is: How effective will Nokia’s initiative be if it is just voluntary?

Francis Cheong agreed the phone recycling program would be more effective if people received financial or other more concrete incentives. He said that in some countries, Nokia had introduced discounted prices or door prizes for recycled their mobile phones, but did not elaborate further.

Nokia and other electronic producers need to take more aggressive measures when it comes to recycling programs, and let market mechanisms work their magic. In the case of Indonesia, the Madurese and scavengers will work enthusiastically for Nokia if the company is ready to conduct business transactions with waste collectors.

Of course Nokia needs to allocate funds toward the business. But in long term, the company will reap great benefits if the recycling program works well.

Trust the Madurese to manage the waste! (Kornelius Purba)

Sumber: The Jakarta Post, Tue, 04/20/2010

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1 Komentar:

Pada 8 Juni 2010 19.37 , Blogger Harry mengatakan...

This is a great announcement from one of the biggest players in the mobile phone market; Nokia. The environmental damage in disposing incorrectly of old mobile phones is far more startling than many phone users will even be aware of! What is particularly good in this case is that recycling seems to be intrisically a part of the Madurese people and a way of life so this seems a good choice by Nokia to locate their Mobile Phone Recycling company operations here.

 

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