The recycling of electronics in Brazil

In July 2018, DIGENT’s Ph.D. candidate Alice Frantz Schneider was in Brazil, collecting data for her research on mobile phone recycling processes. Recycling plays an important role in a sustainable circular model for the mobile phone life cycle. Alice focused on the complexities found in the processes of different recycling scenarios and the connections between them.

Visits were conducted to electronics recycling companies and to the University of Sao Paulo (USP), which operates CEDIR (Center for Reuse and Discard of Informatics Residuals) and hosts LASSU (Laboratory on ICT Sustainability).

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Collection of used electronics at CEDIR / Photo: Alice Frantz Schneider

Prof. Tereza Cristina Carvalho, the coordinator of CEDIR and LASSU, explained that while the center focuses on the processing of electronics for repair and recycling, the laboratory conducts training and research. The laboratory organizes activities focused on sustainability and social inclusion. One program aims at qualifying teenagers from low-income families in computing, in order to increase their employability. The program teaches both software programming, hardware repair, and how to properly dismantle electronic waste for recycling.

The visits to LASSU and CEDIR were especially inspiring because they present an interesting way of combining social and environmental sustainability in an academic setting.