Pile of Electronic Waste

photo by Inf-Lite Teacher | Flickr.com

by Amber Zhai

From the first hackerspace in West Africa, WoeLab, a young Togolese designer named Afate wants to create a 3D printer “Made in Africa” out of the electronic scrap that is dumped into the region and bring 3D technology to the land, within reach of ordinary people in the community.

From Recycling to Up-Cycling

Like many other nations in the region, the West African nation of Togo has become a dumping ground for e-waste from Europe and the US, the litter sometimes covering expanses of entire neighborhoods. Every month, hundreds of tons of e-waste is scoured and broken apart by locals, mostly children, to retrieve the hard drives, copper, and other components that can be resold.

Based on an examination of the Prusa Mendel 3D Printer, imported by WoeLab from France, Afate created the design for the W.Afate 3D Printer (named for WoeLab and the inventor himself), which could be built using recycled parts that are found in the e-waste deposits all around the region.

Humanitarian Technology

In an inspired combination of technological innovation, environmentalism, and social involvement, this project, Afate hopes, could be part of the effort to clean up entire neighborhoods while making Africa an active player in this next phase of industrial revolution.

The project was launched on Ulule, a European crowdfunding site, with a goal of raising 3,500 euros. With under a month left in the campaign, the project is already more than 50% funded.

Recycle your E-Scrap

Rather than letting your digital discards end up in dumping grounds in developing countries, recycle responsibly by sending them to Cash for Electronic Scrap USA. We will process and recycle your old cell phones, hard drives, motherboards, and other electronic scrap and give you cash in return. For more information, visit CashforElectronicScrapUSA.com today.