It’s called E-Source, and it helps people keep track of the flow of electronic waste from when it’s collected to when it’s thrown away or recycled. E-Source was born out of talks about sustainability at IIT-Madras. It still doesn’t have a lot of clear rules. It wants to keep them from being handled in a way that could be dangerous, as well as from being recycled too quickly. It’s hard to get any information at all about how much e-waste is out there because it’s so huge. The informal market deals with about 80% of the waste. Scrap dealers and waste collectors buy and sell waste at different levels.
- E-Source, a platform that tracks the flow of e-waste from collection to recycling, improves the part of this flow that comes in mid-stream sorting.
- Because e-waste is so closely linked to the informal recycling sector, it’s hard to get any data at all on how much e-waste there is in the market.
- By putting information about the amount of e-waste in the market in the public eye, it wants to help buyers and sellers make smart choices that are good for the environment.
- E-Source will connect all of the buyers and sellers of e-waste. It will make sure there are enough volumes for repair, reuse, and recycling so that bigger players, like authorized recyclers, can run and help smaller repairers get parts for their projects without having to buy them from centralized gray markets.
- This means that it is easy to sort things.
- That means the technology can take over the sorting of electronic waste, making it faster and more accurate. Jagan says this because the door is wide open for technology to do this.
At the Kasturbanagar Residents’ Association’s recycling drive, E-Source asks people who want to help to say what kind of electronic waste they have.
E-waste tends to move toward the recycling market without being named or documented, and its condition isn’t known. People in the neighborhood of Kasturbanagar, India, are collecting recyclable waste from February 11-13. Every piece of electronic waste must stand up and be seen. E-Source, a platform that tracks the flow of e-waste from collection to recycling, improves the part of this flow that comes in mid-stream sorting. What the platform does is name the e-waste, figure out what it’s made of, and suggest one of two ways to fix or recycle it. So, by collecting information about the amount of e-waste in the market, it wants to make sure that people don’t handle them badly or recycle them too soon.
E-Source was born out of talks about sustainability at the Indo German Center for Sustainability at IIT-Madras. It still doesn’t have a clear name. A co-founder of E-Source says, “We haven’t decided on the exact format in which it should be.” He says this with Rishika Reddy and Tarun Philip, two other co-founders. There is a chance to start a business with it. Or, we have a bigger peri-urban project at IGCS, which can be part of it. You can go to the Peri-Urban site to get to the E-source platform.
E-Source is taking part in the ROKA e-waste and clothes collection drive as a pilot project because the amount and variety of e-waste coming in would help it show off its new skills.
During this collective drive, we will document the waste and keep a record of it. This way, we will see how e-waste moves through the waste ecosystem and not get lost. So, we want all people who donate e-waste to make sure they say what kind of e-waste they have. We will then look through the data to figure out what kind of e-waste is coming in, and we will be able to come up with ideas about whether to repair or recycle. We have worked with a few people to do this exercise. In a circular economy, fixing and reusing things before recycling them is important before you throw them away. Not all waste that comes to the end of its life should be recycled right away. E-waste is often dumped on the spot. For example, 90% of the parts of a cell phone can be recycled and reused. During covid times, there has been a lot of growth in the second-hand market, which has made it easier for people to get cheap second-hand devices. Jagan, a consultant on the circular economy, says that what we think of as waste turns into something else for someone else.
People don’t know how much e-waste has been collected, and what kind of data is available isn’t very specific. Because e-waste is so closely linked to the informal recycling sector, it’s hard to get any data at all on how much e-waste there is in the market.
If you live in a home, you’re not alone. We can collect a lot of e-waste from there, but this is not enough. In Chennai, an IT center, there is a lot of waste that isn’t being used. To work with people who recycle and informally collect things, like kabbadiwallas, would be one of the most difficult parts. The informal market handles more than 80% of the waste. Scrap dealers and waste collectors trade the waste at many different levels, and it ends up in Moradabad and Seelampur for dismantling and selling. There are a lot of health and environmental risks because the waste is broken down by hand, says Jagannath. For example, there are a lot of repairers on Richie Street, and we want to connect them with other repairers and recyclers. We want to join these networks to bring traceability and formalize the informal markets, but we don’t want to fight with the people who use them.
E-Source sees itself as a helper.
By putting information about the amount of e-waste in the market in the public eye, it wants to help buyers and sellers make smart choices that are good for the environment.
People: “We are just helping the flow of e-waste. We don’t hold on to the e-waste to do anything with it.” Sometimes, getting to e-waste is hard. E-Source will connect the different buyers and sellers of e-waste to be a good thing. It would make sure there were enough volumes for repair, reuse, and recycling for bigger players, like recyclers, to work and smaller repairers to buy electronic parts (ECs) outside of the centralized gray markets. As we collect data, we will be able to learn a lot from it as well.”
This means that it is easy to sort things.
That means the technology can take over the sorting of electronic waste, making it faster and more accurate. Jagan says this because the door is wide open for technology to do this.