Despite the government’s policy to promote a circular economy, there is a need for improved strategies in collecting electronic waste for recycling according to players in waste management. Circular economy is an economic system that targets zero waste and pollution. It is a model of production and consumption which involves reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. Olivier Mbera (L) explains how youth were trained on e-waste management. All photos: Courtesy. Between 10,000 tons and 15,000 tonnes of electronic waste are expected to be collected every year in Rwanda. However less than 10 per cent of that is annually being collected from homes across the country. Experts say that electronic waste is increasing by between 8 percent and 11 percent every year which requires improved efforts in collection and recycling. Olivier Mbera, the General Manager of the Rwandan Public-Private recycling facility-EnviroServe located in Bugesera District industrial zone said that collecting e-waste from institutions is at a good rate compared to collecting e-waste from households. “We are collecting 30 per cent of electronic waste generated by institutions every year and less than 10 per cent of those generated in homes. We are still sensitizing the public so that people understand the role of collecting and disposing e-waste. Most of them are toxic and they should be disposed of,” he said. He said that collection points are being established in all districts across the country. “We are seeking different partners in improving e-waste management in Rwanda,” he said. Youth at the refurbishing and dismantling facility showcase what they have learnt. The facility has so far refurbished 7,060 computers and distributed them in schools. Statistics show that 3,611 tonnes of e-waste have been collected since its launch in 2017 of which 3,300 tonnes were dismantled which have already reduced 2,145 tonnes of carbon emissions to reduce air pollution. Over 715 tonnes of the collected e-waste are used solar products. Projections indicate that the solar waste could increase to 1,400 tonnes in 2022 as off-grid energy is scaled up. Job creation opportunity for youth In order to improve electronic waste collection from households, Mbera said, more youth are being trained to be engaged in the e-waste management chain. “We have also concluded six-month training for at least 40 young graduates who were jobless. They were trained on how e-waste is collected from homes and disposed of at the recycling facility. They were also trained on how such equipment is dismantled, refurbished and recycled,” Mbera said. He noted that the graduates have also been trained on entrepreneurship so as to be able to create their own jobs in e-waste management adding that they have signed agreements to become agents in collecting the e-waste. “They were also given tools kits to use in handling and repairing some electronic waste at collection points. So far we have trained 160 graduates in total so that they help in e-waste management. We have also trained 143 who are already technicians on handling electronic waste and we will soon train more 100 technicians in Kigali,” he noted. So far, the recycling facility has helped in the creation of more than 600 green jobs. Gisele Ingabire, one of the trained youths said that she was a university graduate and jobless saying that she is ready to create her own job in e-waste management. “I have got skills that I was in need of to be able to create a job because I was a university graduate but without practical skills that can enable me to create jobs such as repairing some electronic equipment. We can now do our own business as technicians,” she said. Female have also gained skills in e-waste management. Albert Bizimana, a high school graduate reiterated that he was jobless after school adding that he is going to open a small business that repairs some electronic equipment in Kigali city. However, he said that young people need capital to create their own businesses. Emmanuel Twizeyimana added after graduation he had passed a year without a job. “I have now gained skills to repair printers, phones, computers and other electronic waste as well as electricity installation,” he said.