Frequently Asked Questions

What does Closing the Loop mean when it says it ‘offsets phones’?

For every new phone our customers put on the market, we collect and responsibly recycle a scrap phone. Our work offsets your phone, comparable to CO2 offsetting. Some regard this approach as the global version of Extended Producer Responsibility. The basic idea: you consume a great product, you fund great recycling. One for One.

How can my organisation work with Closing the Loop?

Our services are great to make two moments more sustainable: the purchase of new phones and the disposal of used ones. By collecting scrap phones on your behalf, we either make your new phones material-neutral, or your used phones waste-free.

How can I make the purchase of my new phones more sustainable?

We make new phones material-neutral by offsetting their material footprint, being the metals used to make a phone. We do this very practically; by collecting and recycling one scrap phone in Africa, to offset your new phone. One for One.

How can I make the disposal of my used phones more sustainable?

We make recommerce of phones (the process of selling them on the second hand market) waste-free by creating a closed loop. Most used phones will end up in emerging markets, where recycling is not facilitated. We solve this by collecting and recycling one scrap phone in Africa, to offset the used phone shipped to the emerging world. One for One.

Why does Closing the Loop collect phones in Africa instead of Europe?

When phones become end-of-life in the African continent, it is not possible to properly recycle them locally - while there are 3 facilities in Europe. This means that phones currently end up as hazardous waste at end-of-life. This results in health and environment risks.

Why do we ship the phones all the way from Africa to Europe? 

There is no proper recycling facility on the African continent. Therefore we ship the mobile phones to the nearest recycling plant, which is in Europe.

Is shipping phones more polluting than mining?

Shipping leads to CO2 emissions. However, collecting, shipping and recycling scrap phones is far less polluting compared to traditional mining. This is true for the CO2 emissions and the prevention of other chemicals from being released into our environment.

Why is urban mining better than traditional mining?

Urban mining is the process of converting waste products into new materials, in effect recovering materials that have already been mined or produced before. Traditional mining has a huge impact on people, the environment and climate change, so it should only be done when there are no secondary materials available.

Mobile phones are packed with useful materials like gold, silver and copper (see full overview), even if the phone is completely broken. Via urban mining we can give these metals a new life and prevent the need for even more traditional mining. 

What do I gain from working together with Closing the Loop?

  • Your phones will be made waste-free, in an easy, low cost and appealing way.
  • You get marketing, sales and communications value and create a great story.
  • You can implement circular operations in your company.
  • Transparent and appealing way of communicating about your positive impact.
  • You reduce global e-waste (the fastest growing waste stream).
  • You create income and jobs in emerging markets.

What do people and the environment in African countries gain from collaborating with Closing the Loop?

  • Income via jobs as phone collectors and entrepreneurs. Already more than 2000 people benefited.
  • Less environmental damage.
  • Less pollution, hazardous waste and health issues.

Do I need to change the contract with my current providers/suppliers?

No. You can add our One for One service very easily to your current contracts. Our approach is very easy to implement.

I already use refurbished phones, is that enough?

Using refurbished phones is great! This way you get good phones for a fair price and you extend the life cycle of the mobile phone, thus saving the need for even more extracting of minerals.

However, 70% of all re-used mobile phones eventually end up in countries where there is no responsible recycling infrastructure.

That is where we come in and close the loop. By adding our One for One service you make sure your mobile phones actually reduce waste.

What about my data on the phone?

Closing the Loop does not handle your used phones itself. We can assist in the disposal process. We help you find the best recommerce partners that provide certified data cleaning. And of course, we make sure the disposal process is made waste-free.