Sep 15 2012 | Q&A

The problem of E-waste management needs....

"The problem of E-waste management needs to be addressed on a global level with a strong review of how it is being scrapped at present. The developed world has consumed the largest share of the 1 billion PCs sold but it is the lesser developed countries that are bearing the brunt of it all. With the extremely low awareness levels and even lower sensitivity towards the issue of E-waste, the recycling industry is still in its nascent stages in India."

Subir Bajaj, Founder, GreenTek Reman Pvt Ltd shares his views with Sandeep Sharma about his company, e-waste generation and disposal issues in India, various stages of e-waste management, solutions offered and automated facilities. Edited Excerpts…


Could you tell us about your company, mission and it’s objectives?
GreenTek Reman is an end-to-end electronic waste (E- waste) recycling company. The company is registered with the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India. Pioneering a breakthrough in E-waste management, GreenTek Reman Pvt Ltd caters to one of the most critical and sensitive areas of how to recycle accumulated electronic trash. It comes with an objective of providing an environmentally friendly solution for the problem of E- waste.

GreenTek Reman is committed to initiating a socially responsible movement towards E-waste management. The company looks at E-waste not just as a social and environmental burden, but as an important resource that can be made useful. With a fully automated facility for E- waste recycling at Greater Noida of 20,000 Sq. ft, we will not only handle the complete processing of waste but also provide client friendly solutions like pickup of E-waste from the client premises and complete data security. An additional space of 25,000 sq ft is also under construction as part of the next phase. Our plant is fully operative to cater to every requirement of the market.

How would you define e-waste and the stakeholders involved in generating/disposing e-waste?
E-waste is any broken, obsolete or unused electronic equipment including personal computers, printers, televisions, VCRs, DVDs stereos, gaming consoles, mobile phones, ipods, refrigerators, washing machines and associated peripherals. Anything that has a wire, a plug, a battery or runs on electricity that you probably aren’t going to use ever again comprises of Electronic waste, popularly known as E-waste. Almost 50 million tonnes of E-waste is generated every year in the world. The biggest stakeholder is the consumer using the electronics, be it at the individual level, institutional level or corporate level. The unorganised sector, i.e. the neighbourhood kabadiwallas using unscientific/crude methods to dismantle it and finally the recycler, involved in environment friendly ways to dismantle and recycle it, thus reducing carbon emissions and contributing towards a sustainable environment.

What are the various stages of e-waste management?
The stages of e-waste management are:
A) Process:
Pick up: Request a pick-up and team GreenTek Reman will act to get the E-waste collected within a stipulated period
Logistic: Pan India Logistic bandwidth to cater to the multiple location pick-up needs of the clients
Dismantle: Segregation of components whereby different parts of E-waste are separated to get plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals
Recycle: There is a need to conserve the natural resources by recycling technologies for a sustainable future. At GreenTek Reman we recover upto 99% of recyclable products and dispose the highly hazardous waste through TSDF

B) The 3Rs Mantra:
Follow the Easy Mantra of REDUCE-REUSE-RECYCLE to pave the way for a greener and cleaner environment. Here’s how!

THE FIRST STEP
REDUCE (What You Need):
• Buy Only What You Need
• Borrow or share items that you don’t need daily
• Sell off unwanted items in the house in a rummage or garage sale
• Give away items that are of no use to you but would be of need to someone else around you.

THE SECOND STEP
REUSE (What you can’t reduce):
• Buy rechargeable batteries
• Buy a multipurpose household (all surface) cleaner
• Donate reusable items to NGOs

THE THIRD STEP
RECYCLE (What you can’t reuse):
• Sort out unwanted trash from items you could reuse
• Review the items you are giving away to your kabadiwallah so that they do not end up in wrong hands.
• Make sure you send items that are worthy of being recycled to authorized recyclers only GreenTek Reman is well equipped with a separate R&D division and a highly automated facility for End-to-End E- waste recycling

Where does your role starts in the e-waste management process?
Our role starts from the stage an equipment gets redundant till the stage it gets a new life through recycling.

What kind of solutions do you offer with regard to E-waste management?
• Recycling Solutions: End-to-End processing of E-waste with zero landfill processes
• Treating Hazardous Substances: E-waste also contains hazardous substances such as lead and mercury. A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight
• Data security: Data Sanitization and Data Erasure
• Logistics: PAN India logistics bandwidth
• Destruction Certificate: The certificate will suffice in CSR requirements and help in ISO audits

How far End-to-End electronic waste (E-waste) recycling is practiced in India?
Manual segregation till final metal extraction

What needs to be done to increase awareness with regard to e-waste management in India?
With E-trade assuming gigantic proportions, E-waste is fast piling up in the dumping grounds of the world, namely India, China and Africa. As a result, cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore are already feeling the heat of a heavy influx of E-waste on the domestic as well as international level.

Locally, India generated an approximate 3,30,000 tonnes of E-waste in 2009, with almost all of it is being recycled in underprivileged urban areas. It is a daunting task that is yet to be tackled on a gravely practical level. About 25,000 workers are employed at scrap-yards in Delhi alone, where 10,000 to 20,000 tons of E-waste is handled every year, with computers accounting for 25 percent of it. Other E- waste scrap-yards also exist in Meerut, Muradabad, Seelampur and Chennai.

The problem of E-waste management needs to be addressed on a global level with a strong review of how it is being scrapped at present. The developed world has consumed the largest share of the 1 billion PCs sold but it is the lesser developed countries that are bearing the brunt of it all. With the extremely low awareness levels and even lower sensitivity towards the issue of E-waste, the recycling industry is still in its nascent stages in India. To cater to this stage at the right time, GreenTek addresses this issue by extending a helping hand to companies struggling with their E-waste load.

Could you tell us about your automated facilities for e-waste management in India? Also elaborate on your future plans to set up more such facilities.
GreenTek stands strong with a Greater Noida central plant having a Logistics facility for a pan India pick up. Being a contemporary player, it has set promising goals for the future. Looking forward 2 years from now, the company plans to have 5 to 6 more plants across the country to enhance the capacity within and outreach the E-waste zones across the country. It is also looking at emerging as a leader in recycling solutions on a Pan India level and focus on other environmental initiatives in times to come. The company is actively looking at a responsive market where the target audience comes forward and participates to fight this growing menace for a sustainable future. As Mr. Bajaj puts it, “We have stepped into this cluttered market to fill the gap of responsible E-waste disposal and recycling with the aim of managing the challenges of sustainable solutions for the E-waste problem in India.” The cutting edge technology that GreenTek brings along with a simple approach would make electronics recycling and IT asset disposal straightforward, secure and affordable.

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