According to studies, the world currently generates 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste annually, which is expected to double in the next 16 years. Studies also estimate that 85% of this is being lost globally.
IIT Madras, researchers focused on ‘circular economy', are working to address the gaps in the e-waste sector, which can potentially open doors to a massive economic opportunity, the institute claimed.
This initiative is being spearheaded by Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS). The IGCS team believes that the problem of e-waste could be resolved by connecting different buyers and sellers of used and waste electronic equipment and components without compromising their interests.
The ‘e-Source’ initiative aims to make ‘Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment’ (WEEE) as a key resource in the evolution of a circular economy by establishing traceability and recovery of post-consumer e-waste in the market.
“A novel open-source solution is needed that is data enriched, leveraging the potential of transparency in formalised e-waste handling and management. E-wastes are typically either completely stripped down for precious metals and other high-value materials or dumped in landfills, without exploring potential re-use and repurposing options. Unscientific recycling methods are harmful for waste handlers and the environment," said Sudhir Chella Rajan, faculty at Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS), IIT Madras.
“e-Source is a unique open-source platform that will evolve towards using machine learning for better traceability of e-waste in compliance with guidelines and help increase the opportunities for repair and re-use of e-waste. This will potentially improve livelihoods for youth and women in peri urban settings by upgrading their skills and improving occupational health and safety, reduce the flow of toxic materials in waste streams and broaden the market for affordable, second-hand e-devices," Rajan added.