In 1999-2000, while doing his graduation, Ashley Delaney started a small project of providing used computers from USA to schools in Goa, which soon turned into a UN supported project. As the project became a success, he found that a lot of these computers went to waste collectors, and only 10-15% of the e-waste was recycled.
He decided to investigate further, and partnered with a leading e-waste management firm in the country to find a solution, and found out that an important resource Iridium, is completely lost in the traditional waste management process. Iridium is a rare resource, used to manufacture LCD screens, and we are in danger of running out of it in the next 20 years. The current rule is that 50% of the Iridium used in manufacturing has to be sourced through recycling.
If you’re wondering why it is so important to recycle e-waste, we need to consider a fair number of things. The main problem is that many components of such equipment are considered toxic and are not biodegradable. It is a less energy intensive and cheaper source for base and precious metals, which in turn lowers the carbon footprint.
In fact, 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic gold, silver, and bronze medals are made from 80,000 tonnes of recycled electronics.
There are quite a few rules related to e-waste management which cover everyone right from manufacturer to end consumer to recycler. First and foremost, e-waste to be recycled compulsorily and through authorised recyclers only. Dealers of electronic equipment need to give their e-waste for recycling, which is not very common in Goa.
One thing led to another, and currently Ashley partners with firms who follow ethical e-waste management, to ensure at least 40% of the waste is recycled. Extended Producer Responsibility organizations come together to form groups to make take back easier. The current vision is the education and upskilling of unskilled informal sector, based on the Norway model, in which the government collects, and the private sector finances.
Group Tenplus, was the first and till recently the only e-collection centre in Goa authorised by the Goa Pollution Control Board and among the 150 collection centres in the country. They are allowed to accept all batteries except pen cell ones as the "The GSPCB plans on collecting pen cell batteries through the waste management corporation. They currently recognise two collection centres around Goa and since inception, we have recycled a total of 450 tonnes.” explains Ashley. “This is still a far cry from the over 900 tonnes that gets generated every year.”
While the ultimate benefit is to help the global green process, sustainable development is the actual a need of the hour. “Sustained campaigns at schools and corporate sectors will definitely go a long way in aiding the process,” he says.. ‘Be a part of the solution' urges his team. As the demand for metals is constant, and we have finite resources, recycling would play a major role in ensuring sustainable development.
Do contact Group Tenplus at 98231 18321, to recycle your e-waste.