28 May 2018
Hebron, Palestine
Resource efficiency and sustainable waste management
Electronic waste is becoming a global problem and has had lots of implications on the environment and public health. In Palestine, the entrepreneur Tasneem Abuhijleh is setting up Tafkeek, an e-waste dismantling facility that aims at connecting e-waste generators in Palestine and e-waste recycling companies abroad, mainly in Europe and Asia. She is one of the 24 selected entrepreneurs to follow the incubation phase of the SwitchMed Green Entrepreneurship Program.

The UN estimates that globally there is around 40 million tons of e-waste that accumulates per year (UNEP, 2009). E-waste differs from general waste as it contains various hazardous substances and toxic chemicals which have potential to pollute the environment and risk human health when processed, recycled, or disposed of.

Idhna, a town in Hebron Governorate located 15 kilometers southwest of Hebron City in the southern part of the West Bank, is currently receiving vast quantities of e-waste. According to Abuhijleh, a Palestinian medical laboratory specialist who is passionate about the environment explained that ¨e-waste is currently disposed of in an open field. Valuable materials such as nickel, copper, and lead are extracted, and the remaining non-valuable waste is left to contaminate the land. Also the methods used to extract the materials lead to toxic emissions from burning, soil and water contamination from chemical disposal and inefficient recovery of precious metals,” Abuhijleh says.

While Tasneem was pursuing her master thesis on e-waste, she started thinking to set up her own business on e-waste recycling. This is when SwitchMed came in. She joined the training programme and now she is receiving additional 40 hours of face-to-face support from a local mentor, Baher Dikeidek, a private sector development specialist at Birzeit University in order to develop her green business plan. As part of the incubation phase, Tasneem will receive some specialized technical assistance from external experts too.

“Thanks to the incubation phase of the programme, I have done a lot of progress. I also had the opportunity to meet key stakeholders in that field that might lead to valuable collaborations. For instance, I was introduced to the founder and owner of Collectun D3E, Ines Temimi, a Switcher that recycles electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner contributing to a circular economy in Tunisia,” adds Abuhijleh.

Tafkeek, which in Arabic means ¨dismantling¨ is an e-waste dismantling facility, that aims at connecting e-waste generators in Palestine and e-waste recycling companies abroad. This is the first kind in Palestine. A collection system will be set up, collecting monthly electronic equipment from large buildings, companies and repair shops in an organized and efficient manner. A dismantling facility will also be implemented, in which the valuable materials will be extracted in a sustainable way in order to be sold to recycling companies and reused. By doing so, dumping e-waste in landfills would probably stop too. “In the end, the main goal is to develop a formal e-waste recycling market in West Bank,” explains Abuhijleh.

This project will certainly create green jobs and clean up the environment in the process. The creation of green jobs will remove the practice of hazardous e-waste disposal and instead confine it to specialized recycling projects that effectively manage waste.

 

 

This article was originally published on the SwitchMed website.

Tafkeek Resource Efficiency & Sustainable Waste Management
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