In the context of UNIDO’s recent series of RECP Finance workshops in India, an innovative technological solution to the growing global problem of e-waste was introduced. Recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, “Sanshodhan: An E-Waste Exchange”, is a Hyderabad-based startup that connects manufacturers and consumers of what becomes waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to government-authorized, technically sound e-waste recyclers.
By using digital means to create a virtual e-waste aggregation platform, “Sanshodhan: An E-Waste Exchange” enable corporations, large businesses and bulk electronic and electrical product consumers to implement a ‘cradle-to- cradle’ approach in their businesses. The approach is marked by ease of use, as well as the incentive to comply with government regulations by ensuring that e-waste is efficiently disposed of through authorized entities.
The E-Waste Exchange additionally enables the transformation of the informal e-waste recycling sector. By carrying out capacity building programmes, and providing ‘innovation space’ for upcyclers of e-waste, the platform helps to enhance the income of e-waste aggregators, in particular socio-economically disadvantaged women.
The E-Waste Exchange operates according to four key principles: convenience of use, systemic transparency, economic benefits for users, and national sustainability. The startup aims to establish an effective nationwide e-waste management system and make it available for use from micro to macro level, in order to solve e-waste-related environmental and socio-economic challenges.
Ms. Shalini Sharma, Senior Counsellor at the RECPnet member Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) – Green Business Center (GBC), Hyderabad and consultant for the State Government of Telangana who oversees the development of “Sanshodhan: An E-Waste Exchange”, recently visited UNIDO Headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The visit served to exchange on best practices in e-waste management, and also to tour two of Austria’s leading e-waste recyclers, Elektro Recycling Austria (ERA) and the Demontage- und Recycling-Zentrum (DRZ).
Ms. Sharma explained the transformative potential of this innovative solution, stating that “Applied on a large scale, the E-Waste Exchange will eventually help to develop ‘zero-e-waste, smart and sustainable cities”.
The aggregation platform has the ability to create a traceable chain throughout the various stages of recycling or disposal which e-waste goes through. By these means, manufacturers as well as governments can assess the amount of e-waste being recycled. This traceability will help spur manufactures to make more eco-efficient products and assist local and national government keep track of waste flows.
“Sanshodhan: An E-Waste Exchange” is already a partner of the State Government of Telangana in the implementation of the Government of India’s E-Waste Management Rules. The platform helps to establish circularity in the local economy through the re-introduction of raw materials, and furthermore serves as a monitoring, verification and reporting platform for regulatory authorities. It is thereby a holistic tool, providing insight on the implementation status of related waste management policies, while creating innovative possibilities for strategic decision-making at the government level.
Being a patented model, the exchange platform’s digital infrastructure can be replicated in other contexts in collaboration with “Sanshodhan: An E-Waste Exchange”. It for instance offers the possibility to develop tailor-made e-waste management systems for businesses, as well as developing e-waste management policies and e-waste inventories for interested countries. The platform would thereby help governments meet various targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); in particular Goals 9, 11, 12 and 13, related to sustainable industrial and urban development, efficient resource management and climate change.