21/9/2018: Last week, an article appeared in the Belgian news magazine Le Vif/L’Express about critical raw materials such as lithium, and the questions this could bring up regarding recycling and reuse. The topic of the article is closely connected with both Close the Gap and WorldLoop’s missions. By on the one hand reusing old computers for social projects and on the other hand recycling these reused computers at the end of their second life, both organisations contribute to a sustainable solution for these precious metals that are at the base of modern technology.
Even though raw materials used in for example products such as smartphones and batteries for electric cars are indispensable for the further development of technology, many of these materials are threatened by a short-term shortage. Recycling and reuse are a first step in obtaining a better balance in this regard, but more radical change is needed. This more radical solution would be based on a change in how consumers treat such products using critical raw materials.
The journalist who wrote the article, Laurence Van Ruymbeke, reached out to Close the Gap in order to get an insight from founder and CEO Olivier Vanden Eynde. He mentioned that consumerism itself has to pass from a ‘throw-away-when-broken’ perspective to a more circular approach. Olivier Vanden Eynde said that “the younger generation is evolving from an economy of possession to one of sharing.” He also mentions that “indefinite growth is impossible.” And even though “change isn’t simple, the new generation will succeed in this radical change of mentality.”