Non-functional mobile phone chargers, adaptors, calculators, old wires, bulbs, printers, and toners are all part of the e-waste generated at offices, industries, and even households. These mostly get into the regular garbage bags.
Green Era Recyclers, a seven-month-old start-up by Prasanth Omanakuttan and Syam Premachandran, looks at recycling the e-waste generated in the city. In the last seven months, it has collected and recycled eight to 10 tonnes.
The firm has recently got a five-year authorisation from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to recycle 150 tonnes of e-waste annually.
According to Mr. Prasanth, a study on the e-waste inventory shows that Coimbatore generates nearly 2,500 tonnes of e-waste a year. However, most of it goes unsegregated.
The waste batteries, cartridges, displays, and printers are all collected from institutions, a few houses, and industries and dismantled. The waste is segregated into hazardous and non-hazardous and the non-hazardous waste is recycled. “We also try to recover a lot of materials and refurbish some products,” he said.
Green Era is in talks with Coimbatore Corporation to collect e-waste from houses in one or two wards initially. “We have designed a special bin for households. It has four compartments to collect bulbs, wires, printers and toners, and miscellaneous items. We will pay an amount for most of these and collect them,” he says. The civic body has asked for some more details on recycling and the company will submit the information in a week or so. The preliminary recycling will be done in Coimbatore and the hazardous waste will be sent to Chennai for safe disposal.
Started with an investment of ₹15 lakh, the start-up also has a research unit that designs and develops machinery for recycling, “We now have shredder, extruder, and cable stripper,” says Mr. Prasanth. If the machinery available in the market is purchased, a large-scale recylcing plant needs at least ₹2 crore investment. The start-up has machinery that costs much less and plans to commercialise these too.
“We will go for external funding after developing the machinery,” he said.