As a registered Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO), ERA is dedicated to improving e-waste recycling in South Africa and is a leader in electronic waste management.

The organisation facilitates and implements the country's regulations on the proper disposal and management of electronic waste, as laid out by South Africa's Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations, which came into effect in 2021.

According to the duo, the partnership comes at a crucial time as South Africa grapples with an escalating e-waste crisis. With only 10% of e-waste currently being recycled, it contributes to landfills quickly reaching capacity. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream, growing three times faster than general municipal solid waste.

A research survey undertaken by Cartoon Network found that 70% of children aged six to 11 across the EMEA region had not heard of e-waste or were aware but not sure / had no idea what it means. Results from the study show the following:

  • The majority of children aged six to 11 years claim to have heard of e-waste, but in reality, few (30%) know what it means.
  • Children in Poland (47%), Turkey (37%) and South Africa (28%) are more familiar with e-waste than peers in the United Kingdom (19%) and France (17%).
  • Polish children (81%) are notably more likely to link e-waste with the correct definition versus other markets; South Africa (33%), the United Kingdom (26%) and France (19%) under-index.
  • Most children (87%) have at least one e-waste item at home, with South Africa being above the index at 97%, with children's toys, headphones and tablets among the top three items.
  • 64% of children in South Africa say they store e-waste items at home or throw them away, highlighting the need for education.

This is according to EMEA Kids Insights, a primary research survey conducted on the Quantilope platform.

Through the partnership with ERA, Cartoon Network says that it will use its characters and storytelling to teach children about e-waste, as well as its problems and how recycling can be a solution. The aim is to inspire children to become e-waste warriors, advocating for recycling in their homes and communities.

"Understanding what happens to rubbish is good to learn from childhood. Technology is such a big part of children's lives these days and it's crucial that they understand the importance of recycling e-waste from a young age," says Ashley du Plooy, CEO at ERA.

"Electronics can have a second life — even broken toys with cables or batteries can be transformed into something new! That's because they often have valuable materials. Recycling them correctly also safeguards the environment for future generations," adds du Plooy.

By combining education with entertainment, Cartoon Network Africa and ERA says that they hope to cultivate a generation of environmentally-aware children who comprehend the significance of responsible e-waste management.

Cartoon Network Climate Champions's new e-waste video content will air on the Cartoon Network channel and includes a Guide to E-waste video that explains:

  • what e-waste is
  • why it's an important issue, and
  • the basics of how we can help tackle it.

Cartoon Network adds that it will also air e-waste promos, explaining issues around e-waste with a call to action on how children can get involved in tackling it, and share weekly uploads to its social and YouTube channels to help broaden the reach and drive key e-waste messages home.

Monika Oomen, VP of brand, communications and digital content strategy for Kids EMEA at Warner Bros. Discovery, says, "In our efforts to engage children into climate action, the partnership with ERA is a vital addition to our Cartoon Network Climate Champions campaign. By combining Cartoon Network's commitment to engaging storytelling with ERA's expertise in e-waste management, we can reach children on a platform they love while empower them to become environmental champions." 

This comes as annual electronic waste generation is on track to reach a staggering 82 million tonnes globally per year by 2030, including items such as:

  • mobile phones
  • laptops
  • MP3 players
  • plugs, and
  • batteries.

Cartoon Network says that its Climate Champions initiative empowers and inspires young people to act and help the environment. Children aged between six and 12 can become Climate Champions by taking up daily challenges and making a world of difference together.

Among the many e-waste challenges available are: 

  • the 'Device Rescue Mission', where children check their homes for old electronic devices that can be recycled
  • the 'No Crossed Wires' challenge, which involves taking care of chargers by preventing damage from wire tangles, and 
  • the 'Phone Numbers!' challenge, where children count the number of mobile phones in their homes, including unused ones.

In addition to helping children understand the extent of the e-waste problem, ERA says that it has a comprehensive list of e-waste recycling drop-off points around the country. Living sustainably with technology means ensuring all aging and failed electronic products are discarded using trusted e-waste recycling points that prevent the materials from ending in landfills.

Individuals are encouraged to visit the Climate Champions website or download the Climate Champions app and discover:

  • facts and trivia about e-waste
  • new quizzes
  • new voting cards
  • new videos featuring real kids talking about the issue of electronic waste, and
  • new e-waste challenges that can 'Make a World of Difference'.

For more information, visit

*Image courtesy of Climate Champions