TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott

BCRC | bmobile unveil vibrant e-waste disposal bins nationwide

TSTT Corporate Communications

Press Release

Improper disposal of mobile phones and mobile phone accessories is dangerous to our natural environment because of the hazardous substances they contain. These toxins in e-waste or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) can cause harm to nearby communities, damage crops, and contaminate local water supplies. To reduce these potentially devastating health effects, bmobile is doing its part to reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in the nation’s landfills.

As the nation’s largest communications solution provider, bmobile has partnered with the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer in the Caribbean (BCRC) and other stakeholders to make it easier for citizens to recycle e-waste and create greater awareness about the hazards of improper disposal of these items.

The BCRC in collaboration with CANTO, the Ministry of Planning and Development, several mobile phone retailers, and bmobile launched the HELLO: Help Electronics Live Longer campaign which provides recycle bins across Trinidad and Tobago. Now available in most geographic areas, the container bins will allow people to get rid of their electronic clutter securely while contributing to a safer environment.

The initiative is driven by the results of a national campaign and public survey which sought to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices in Trinidad and Tobago regarding the management of used and end-of-life mobile phones.

Jewel Batchasingh, Director of BCRC-Caribbean explained that “the HELLO Campaign is an awareness campaign focused on engendering behavioural change. We hope to reduce the landfilling of used mobile phones and increase opportunities for refurbishment, re-use, and recycling.”

White drums with the HELLO logo will be placed at bmobile locations for people interested in recycling their unused, end-of-life, non-working phones. The locations are Cell Master in The Falls at West Mall and Trincity Mall along with Cell 4 Less, Centre City Mall Chaguanas, and Cellular Planet, Scarborough. Phones dropped off are not being refurbished or repurposed but will be dismantled and recyclable materials removed.

Anjanie Ramesar-Soom of the Corporate, Environmental, Social & Reputation Management team at TSTT, notes the company’s continued support of this initiative. “While we are an active partner
in many aspects of this country’s drive to greater digitalisation and digitisation, we recognise that there are consequences related to exponential advances in technology. Supporting initiatives like this will ensure that these goals are sustainable and leave a better environment for our young people who will benefit in the long run,” she stated. “We also would like to remind everyone, whether they are our customers or not, this is a free and a wonderful opportunity to clear up electronic clutter at home and contribute to a better T&T overall.”

The Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development, who delivered remarks at the launch of the initiative at the EMA’s offices noted that “this project supports our efforts towards the attainment of theme five (5) of the National Development Strategy (Vision 2030) which is placing the environment at the center of social and economic development. This is key as the risk of environmental mismanagement threatens our food security, human health, and livelihoods.”

As T&T moves to greater digitisation of its economy, the ubiquitous presence of smart devices represents a double-edged sword. A 2010 rapid assessment conducted on personal computers in Trinidad and Tobago by Garraway & Ott and the Federal Swiss Institute for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) indicated that in 2008 alone, approximately 30,000 computers became obsolete. With schools leveraging remote education and workers using hybrid and remote work, the number of electronic devices in T&T is expected to increase significantly. The need for adequate disposal mechanisms is significant now more than ever and bmobile is proud to be part of this initiative.

Many of the raw materials necessary for communications and technology are finite. Global estimates suggest that as little as 20% of e-waste is recycled but recycling just one million cell phones can recover more than 35,000 pounds of copper, 33 pounds of palladium, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold. These assets can be used in new smart devices, semiconductors for vehicles, and more.

This project is a step towards shifting the mindsets of all citizens so that recycling and proper disposal of e-waste become second nature ensuring that dangerous by-products of disposed devices do not end up in our water supplies, food sources, and our bodies.