There is a very famous saying ‘Worry is like a pyre’. That is, if you over-think about something, then it can become a big problem for you. But this saying does not fit these two brothers at all. The excessive concern and curiosity about the environment inspired both of them to innovate and they created a premium company which is handling e-waste in a scientific way.
In 2007, Nitin and Rohan were looking for a recycler for their old laptops that would discard the e-waste eco-friendly. When no such person was found near him, he took the help of Google. But he did not see a solution to his problem even there. They wondered whether burning them was the only way to deal with e-waste like laptops. He was looking for some eco-friendly way for this.
Persistence came from responsibility, business idea came from stubbornness
Nitin and Rohan Gupta, researched continuously for a few months and when they could not find any such recycler near or far away, they set up their own premium Atero recycling company for the same. This recycling company of his, recycles many products like electronic scraps such as television sets, computer monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mics, cables, circuit boards, lamps, calculators, phones, answering machines, DVDs and disposes them in a scientific way. has been
Nitin has done his BTech from IIT Delhi and has also been an alumnus of New York University’s Stern School of Business. At the same time, Rohan has a degree in Chemical Engineering from REC, Jaipur. Both of them put their abilities into creating a special recycling process.
His technology is a combination of mechanical and hydro metrological techniques, which can remove up to 98 percent of the metal from e-waste, with extremely low carbon dioxide emissions. Apart from gold and silver, metals like copper, tin, aluminum, lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel are removed from the e-waste with this technology.
By the year 2018, 48.5 million tonnes of e-waste has been generated worldwide, seeing that the United Nations has warned that if no strict steps are taken to deal with the waste in the coming times, there will be a tsunami of garbage all over the world. Will go At present, only 20 percent of waste is being recycled globally.
According to the report, this e-waste is so much that 1,25,000 jumbo jets can be made from it. If you are still finding it difficult to guess, then you know that this is a garbage as big as 4,500 Eiffel Tower. If it were collected in one place, this waste would occupy roughly the same amount of space as a Manhattan city.
The situation in India is even more dismal
Looking at India, the situation is even more depressing. Only 2% of the waste is disposed of here and that too is not done effectively. In informal areas, either the plastic present in this waste is burnt to extract the metal or in dangerous situations they are acid leached. Both methods cause great damage to the environment.
The report said that the recovery rate of metals is disappointing. The annual value of this e-waste is $62.5 million, which is three times more than the metal produced from all the silver metal mines around the world. Although this report is quite new. Nitin had said in the year 2010 itself that there was a huge increase in waste.
Talking to the Economic Times on e-waste, he had said that by 2021, India will generate one million tonnes of e-waste and at the same time he also described e-waste as a billion dollar opportunity. After extensive research on the subject, the brothers raised a total of $20 million in four rounds of funding from institutional bankers such as Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Granite Hill India Opportunity Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Forum Synergies and International Finance Corporation.
a permanent solution
Actually, Atero Recycle is a dual model. On the one hand they buy e-waste and on the other they earn money by selling the metals extracted from this waste. The company has an impressive clientele including Samsung, Acer, LG, Whirlpool, Godrej, Flextronics, Vivo, Oppo, Reliance Jio, MG Motors and Maruti Suzuki.
The company claims to be the only company to recycle Li-ion batteries in an environmentally friendly manner. Presently, he is recycling around 1000 tonnes of Li-ion batteries every year at his Roorkee branch. Nitin says, “No recycler in India has the capacity to dismantle Li-ion batteries. They destroy this waste by burning or leaching acid, or sell it.”
This company disposes of 20 types of e-waste according to its capacity, from CFL bulbs to industrial equipment. They have the capacity to dispose of 1,44,000 tonnes of waste annually.
When People Didn’t Even Hear About Recycling
In the 2010s, people did not even know about the recycling of e-waste. So it was not easy to achieve this achievement. Nitin recalls, “When we started, there was little awareness among people about e-waste. Leave aside the strategy of effective disposal of e-waste. At that time people used to throw things like old phones and laptops very carelessly in the open or sell them to a scrap dealer. These dealers use very unsafe methods for recycling, which is a huge threat to the environment.”
Nitin and Rohan Gupta were the first to create a robust and regulated e-waste system. It provided facilities for pickup, collection, electronic goods tracking, reverse logistics management, electronics recovery, data security, refurbishment, e-waste recycling and disposal from across India.
Important agreements made with many companies
He tied up with the government to register recyclers. They had no advanced technology to modify the e-waste and remove every single ounce of metal.
The company adopted methods such as Printed Circuit Board (PCB) recycling, in which they remove copper, silver-gold from printed circuit boards and tin from tin/lead solder draws. Catalytic converters are used to extract platinum, palladium and rare neodymium from magnets. All these recycled metals are sold at market price.
He explains, “We applied for 300 patents, out of which 27 global patents were granted to us. We have made significant investments in Capex and R&D and will continue to do so.”
The company conducts on-site visits
There is one more thing that sets Atero apart from the rest – on-site visits. Before associating with any company they are encouraged to visit the plant and conduct technical evaluation in the environment. Nitin says that not only do our old customers stay connected with us, but every month a new customer also joins us.
He said, “UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is an organization of the United Nations. He saw the whole process of our working. He agreed with the fact that the amount of energy used in the atero to extract one gram of copper would require more energy than if the same amount of copper was extracted from a mine or any other source. So far we have saved more than one lakh metric tonnes of carbon.”
Commitment to keep environment and society clean
Today, if Atero is proudly talking about 150 percent year-on-year growth, there are several reasons behind it. Nitin said, “Over the years, there has been a lot of awareness about waste disposal. Apart from this, the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) norms has also helped the industry to grow. At present, 30 products are covered under EPR. Hopefully this number will reach 700 within a year.”
The Gupta brothers will be setting up six franchises in several states of the country by the end of 2021. Through this, they are preparing to increase this operation to 30,000 tonnes. Nitin says, “Environment is the collective responsibility of all of us. We all have to make efforts to preserve it and adopt sustainable methods. Let us take a pledge to keep our environment and society clean and recycle e-waste in a scientific way.”
Original article: Gopi Karelia
Editing: Archana Dubey
Also read: Eco friendly packaging made from bamboo, Sabai grass, work given to 500 artisans
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