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Large home improvement retailer addresses electronic waste threat

In the battle to alleviate the rising tide of e-waste in South Africa, DIY Retailer LEROY MERLIN in partnership with AST Recycling have installed e-waste recycling bins in all four stores in Johannesburg.

The e-waste recycling bins accept power tools, printers, TV’s, desktop monitors, mobiles and tablets, computers and cables, small electronics, audio and video devices as well as media players. The greatest hindrance to successful e-waste management has not been for lack of environmental concern, it has been the lack of convenient drop off points, lack of knowledge of how to dispose of items as well as the fear of data security breaches.

To prevent the contamination of water, soil and air from hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium found in e-waste products, this e-waste recycling solution ensures that items are not sent to landfills, where they can seep into the groundwater or burnt, negatively affecting the health of humans and wildlife. This initiative aligns with the France based company’s commitment to implementing eco-innovations through their global “We Make It Positive” initiative which commemorated Global Recycling day, on the 18 March 2022 and has since collected over two tons of general e-waste. “It is important that we innovate in our business practices, like we have with EDF Energy to monitor our electricity consumption, so that each operation we launch integrates a balance between economic, environmental and human concerns,” says Cédric Sennepin, CEO of LEROY MERLIN South Africa.

E-waste recycling contributes to job creation as many items can be refurbished and re-used. Data security is of utmost importance to AST Recycling and Leroy Merlin. “Once the electronic devices or components are brought in for recycling, they are subjected to full data sanitisation, so that no information contained on them can fall into the wrong hands. All hard drives are destroyed – never to be reused,” says Rodney Peters, head of IT Asset Disposal at AST Recycling.

LEROY MERLIN & AST Recycling encourage the neighbouring communities of Little Falls, Fourways, Greenstone and Boksburg to make use of these convenient e- waste bins at LEROY MERLIN stores in these areas. “Looking after our environment is so incredibly important, and even though many of us try our best to reduce, reuse and recycle, we tend to overlook our electronics”, says “Good Things Guy”, Brent Lindeque, and resident of Fourways. “According to the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA), we generate about 6.2 kilograms of e-waste per inhabitant annually, and only 12% of that is recycled. That is a huge problem, but knowing that there is a place close to home where we can now recycle all our electronics is really good news for all of us… and even better news for our environment.”