Innovation That Matters

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Tackling e-waste with biodegradable SIM cards


The new SIM cards are made using 100 per cent FSC-certified paper

Spotted: Technology is advancing faster and faster every day, but the more devices that get updated and produced, the more e-waste we generate. SIM cards, for instance, may be tiny, but because 4.5 billion of them are sold every year, that adds up to thousands of tonnes of plastic that will likely eventually end up in landfill. MTN Rwanda wants to change that. 

After launching its eSIMs in 2023, which involves integrating chips in phones instead of using separate cards, the company has now unveiled a paper-based biodegradable SIM card. 

These cards, called bioSIMs, are made using 100 per cent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper, meaning the forests where the paper comes from are responsibly and sustainably managed. Once discarded, these bioSIMs will safely decompose in the natural environment over time. 

The innovation is part of MTN’s ongoing search for more sustainable and socially responsible products and practices – called Project Zero. The company has also been replacing some of its fleet to hybrid vehicles, as well as transitioning its data centres to solar power. 

Springwise has spotted other, more sustainable replacements for traditional devices, including modular, repairable earbuds and eco-friendly printed electronics

Written By: Lauryn Berry and Matilda Cox 



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