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I am from India. It's been more than 15 years that I'm using electronics and throwing it out when its done. Since 3 years, after getting aware of how electronics affect the environment, I am trying to recycle everything, but to my surprise it is very hard. There are not many places where you can recycle. Some companies have started their initiatives in cities but most of India is rural and hence something needs to be done for those areas. People just don't have any proper way to dispose the electronic waste.

How can I start a recycling location? What things should be taken care of for that? I'm planning to collaborate with a company so I can at least start it in my place and take the e-waste to the zones in cities where these companies have set up units. But how do I start and what are all things that should be considered?

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  • There is a chance that you could get some information or help from Sipi Metals in Chicago IL. They have recycled electronics about 50 years and copper scrap for much longer. Jul 21, 2022 at 15:13
  • thanks @blacksmith37 will check
    – nikhil2000
    Jul 22, 2022 at 7:15
  • @blacksmith37 why that particular company? There are many other e-waste companies.
    – THelper
    Jul 22, 2022 at 7:52
  • The only one I know and they have been in business 50 years. Jul 22, 2022 at 16:06

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First of all, I think it's great that you are trying to do something about all the electronic waste in rural areas in India. E-waste is not easy to recycle because you need knowledge what usable materials are present in different types of electronics and expensive equipment to process it.

It's not clear to me if this is something you want to do in your free time, or if you really want to make a business out of this and earn money. For the latter, things are more complicated and probably require some investments. In any case, I think you need to do 4 things:

  1. Check around to get a good impression of the different types of e-waste that are dumped in your area. This will give you an idea of what you can collect and will receive in the future.

  2. You mentioned cooperating with a recycling company. Find such a company, if you haven't done so already, and ask them for help. In my experience recycling companies have specific requirements what materials they accept and under what conditions. Talk to them about what you can offer.

    Some companies may even be willing to pay for large amounts of e-waste, especially for batteries, computers and mobile phones. Also ask them if they can guarantee that the waste you supply is really recycled and not dumped elsewhere. Your "customers" may also be interested in safe data destruction, so ask about that as well.

  3. Think about what you want to do exactly and draw up a business plan if you want to start a business. Important questions to answer are; what waste types will you accept, how will you promote this, where will you store everything and for how long, how do you transport it to the recycling company, what will you do with waste you cannot use (because you're bound to receive that as well even if you don't want it).

    If you want to earn money you could also consider refurbishing certain devices and selling them again, or simply extract and sell usable parts. In this case, consider how you will check what parts are still usable and how you can extract them.

  4. Check the regulations in your country or state. There could be certain rules you need to abide to when collecting large amounts of waste, and certain licenses or permits to be obtained. Many e-waste contains heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury or lead so especially check health and safety regulations.

Good luck!

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  • The other thing to be mindful of is processing e-waste, or any other form of waste, can generate it own waste & a management plan needs to be established & enacted for it.
    – Fred
    Jul 23, 2022 at 9:53

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