India's thirst for technology has led to an unprecedented problem: Electronic waste or e-waste. E-waste comprises of a multitude of components, some containing toxic substances that can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment if not handled properly.
According to data, India is the fifth-largest producer of e-waste, discarding 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic and electrical equipment annually. In addition, in India, e-waste management assumes greater significance not only due to the generation of its own e-waste but also because of the dumping of e-waste from developed countries.
A Bengaluru-based startup could resolve this issue. Founded by a team of professionals with background in technology, commodity markets and finance, Eco E-Market claims to be India’s first online portal for trading e-waste, paper, plastic and textiles.
The B2B (Business to Business) portal aims to connect approved buyers of waste with the large users of e-products such as multinationals, IT firms, corporates, and banks.
Eco E-market runs a national digital exchange on a revenue-sharing basis with National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) eMarkets, which is a trading platform, and functions like a commodity exchange platform with auction and bidding methods.
Meenakshi Chidamba ram, founder and CEO at Eco E-Market told the Economic Times that waste management ecosystem in India is fragmented, complex and inefficient.
"It remains in the shadows - inaccessible, disaggregated and opaque - as part of an obsolete, offline deal ecosystem which is a heavy and mostly unnecessary drain on already limited time and personnel resources of any enterprise. Eco eMarket aims to address this challenge and bring about a positive transformational impact on the waste management eco system."
SR Pejavar, Eco E-Market Co- founder, told StartUp Buzz that their work can be helpful in creating new jobs in waste collection as municipalities can establish e-waste collection centres and can ask apartment and housing societies to dispose their dump there and they can generate some revenue by selling it on the platform.
But it is not just India that suffers from e-waste. A new report by the United Nations University finds that the amount of e-waste in Asia has risen by 63% in five years, warning of the need to improve recycling and disposal methods across the region to prevent serious environmental and health consequences. UN agencies are starting to work together to track and help deal with a soaring amount of electronic wastes worldwide.
According to the UN Environment Programme, up to 50 million tonnes of electronic wastes are expected to be dumped in 2017, which sees a 20 percent increase from 2015.
“Innovative solutions to combat “e-waste” are emerging,” writes Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP and former Executive Director of UNEP.
“Not only can recycling reduce pressure on the environment, it can also create jobs and generate income. Indeed, the global waste market sector – from collection to recycling – is estimated to be worth US$410 billion a year, excluding a very large informal sector.” he adds.
Eco emarket could be a big step towards a greener planet, helping restoring our ecosystem balance.