The use of electronic and electrical items have seen a steady rise in Nepal however, the problem of managing the discarded e-goods is not receiving its due attention.
Manashree Newa, a graduate in environmental science, currently working in a NGO is the one who conceptualized Eletri-Cylers. She wanted to create a sustainable solution for disposing e-waste that is currently polluting the valley. She is also one of the recipients of the 8 week incubation program for winning the Smart City Challenge, rolled out by Chaudhary Foundation. Read further to know the thought process of Manashree’s business idea.
How did you come up with the concept of Eletri-Cyclers?
I have always been interested in environmental issues specially waste management. I completed my graduation in environmental science from Kathmandu University and joined GUTHI, an NGO focused on WASH (Water, sanitation and Hygiene). Currently, I am working on rain water harvesting and public toilet management projects.
However, I started actively looking for waste management solution after an incident of overflow of fecal sludge in my own household. While researching on waste management, I learned that e-waste is a major concern in Nepal and has immense opportunity. When the Smart City Challenge came up I decided to take a leap and work on refining my idea.
Please tell us about your business idea?
My idea is to collect e-waste i.e electric and electronic equipment’s which are at the end of its life from various sources. The collected waste can be repaired and refurbished as much as possible to reuse and reduce the generated e-waste. Those that cannot be repaired can be dismantled, segregated and broken down in to various components like plastic, copper, aluminium and glass. These individual components will be sold in the market enabling disposal of e-waste in an environment friendly way.
What are current practices in e-waste management and how are they hazardous?
The e-waste is currently disposed with regular waste or collected by the informal sector. Both of which leads to either environmental pollution or health related issues. The informal sector collects ewaste from housholds and remove the parts of the electronic or electrical waste that are of value to them and discard the rest as they deem fit. In my field survey, I have seen the waste workers burning the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) which emits toxic gases and are harmful if inhaled. The waste sometimes ends up in rivers polluting the water we drink.
There are many studies which show that e-waste, if not managed properly, can cause mercury and lead contamination of land and water. Long term exposure to these toxic elements can cause severe health issues.
What is the current status of your business idea?
I have done the preliminary research but I need to do more practical research. I have identified my collection sources which include individual households, mobile shops and institutions who can give me electronic waste. I am also hoping to establish a barter system wherein people can give their e-waste and I can provide them repaired items.
The paying customers would be plastic, aluminium and copper industries. I intend to tap local markets and local recyclers as well to sell the recovered components from e-waste.
What is your next step for your business idea?
Currently I plan to start on a small scale, and scale it up slowly. I aim to understand the market well first.
Interested in learning more about Manashree business idea? You can get in touch with her at email@example.com