• Odhiambo said they are the first university in the country to come up with a model where resources are used and recovered rather than disposed of at the end of life.
• The university has also established a fully functional sanitation research institute for circular research on organic waste.
Meru University of Science and Technology has launched a project to manage and recycle electronic waste in the country.
Vice chancellor Prof Romanus Odhiambo said the project aims to raise public awareness on e-waste, train as many people as possible, expand processing capacity and research, and create jobs.
He said the institution has trained 175 technicians who will be graduating in June and are expected to use their expertise in their villages and eventually the entire country.
Odhiambo said the graduates will act as agents for the university’s collection centre as it continues to scale up the project.
“According to the Global E-waste Monitor Report of 2020, 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste are produced each year and if left unchecked this could double to 120 million tonnes by 2050. Globally, only 17.4 per cent of e-waste is managed appropriately,” the VC said.
“We are the first university in the country to come up with a model where resources are used and recovered rather than disposed of at the end of life.”
He said the university will strive to practice a circular economy whose intention is to produce no waste and instead, products, parts, and materials are used, cared for, repaired, reused and recycled as much as possible in an environmentally friendly manner.
“This is intended to be the preferred alternative to the dominant economic development that contributes to a lot of disposed of e-waste,” Odhiambo said.
The project has been funded by the German Development Corporation, which is working closely with the European Union and other private partners in e-waste management.
“In the meantime, we are looking forward to working together with partners to establish a mini-recycling centre that will act as a teaching factory and income generation centre to help in the circular economy for youth job creation,” Odhiambo said.
The university has also established a fully functional sanitation research institute for circular research on organic waste.
It is taking food and human waste and researching on how it can create wealth from them.
“We plan to upscale the current technician courses to bachelors, masters, and probably PhDs where we plan to do research about the problematic e-waste fractions that are difficult to recycle and come up with noble ways of recycling to reduce the cost to achieve more impact by research and recycling more tonnes of e-waste at minimal cost,” Odhiambo said.
He said the university has all it takes to upscale the project into urban mining, which is the process of recovering rare materials in electronic waste.
Some of the precious metals in e-waste include but are not limited to gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium, and also contain valuable bulky materials such as iron and aluminium along with plastics that can be recycled.