Mohamed Tarek El-Fatatry had an epiphany—about 4,000 dead phones.
It was mid-2018. El-Fatatry was in Plaza Lowyat, a multi-storey IT mall in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There, he stumbled upon a phone repair shop with a large pile of mobile phones that were beyond repair. He decided to buy all of them—for US$1,000 in total. Later, he sold them to a recycling plant for US$2,000.
That sale set El-Fatatry on a course to launch a social enterprise in Malaysia that collects and delivers electronic waste to licensed recycling plants in 2018. He named it ERTH, a backronym for E-waste Recycling through Heroes.