For those of us familiar with the local ‘raddi-wala‘ (scrap-dealers), we know that no matter how small their store, they are actually the ones helping save our Earth and its resources. But other than our old newspapers, magazines, plastic, and glass bottles, we know there is little scope for other stuff.

Surely not a laptop? And a battery???

But we now have a SOLUTION! EcoReco (now in Andheri, but also expanding) is collecting e-waste and creating awareness among communities. They have seen that while raddi-shops do a good job with paper and plastic, electronic waste can be difficult and often HAZARDOUS to the person recycling it.

E-waste includes any electronics-related device that uses or produces electricity. This includes used batteries as well! When discarded in regular waste, electronics can leak out chemicals and create fires, toxic gases, or mix with food and kill scavengers that eat the waste (such as innocent dogs, cats, crows, etc). Worse, many times, e-waste (such as battery-acid leaking from old batteries) have seriously injured rag-pickers causing chemical burns and ulcers which are hard to treat. Imagine acid on your hand…just because we didn’t care to separate out our waste!!! Toxic chemicals can also leach into the soil and reach the ground-water, and can poison any nearby well or bore-well. Have you noticed any solid tree growing in the Deonar garbage dump? But you have heard of the recent fires that could not be put out for days!

EcoReco states on their website that they are:
“A member of the ISRI and Electronic Recyclers Association (ERA), Ecoreco deploys recycling processes that are ISO 9001, 14001 & OHSAS 18001 certified.” They are also certified by Microsoft as a ‘refurbisher’.

This afternoon I took my old desktop and an old laptop (both beyond repair) to them after Savio Silveira of Greenline suggested it was a better option than the kabadi-wala (I still go to the kabadi-walla for paper and plastic. I support small-scale local businesses, particularly ones that are eco-friendly). EcoReco weighed the waste and gave me a letter of thanks and cash of Rs. 1000/- (for 15kg waste. But money was not my main motivation for recycling).

The employees were polite and explained to us the various aspects of electronic recycling and how they sometimes even remove usable parts of the electronics for re-use. They are still working towards opening their drop-station near Mithibai College (Vile Parle West).

Stuff they will accept:

  1. Computers and laptops
  2. Old chargers and earphones
  3. Music and DVD players
  4. Old TVs
  5. Mixer, toaster
  6. Microwaves
  7. Cameras
  8. BATTERIES OF ALL KINDS!!!! I’m really excited about this because I know how harmful battery acid is when it leaks into waste…and I had no idea how to dispose of them safely!
  9. Wires of all kinds.
  10. Phones that are too old to be exchanged
  11. A/Cs, Coolers, Fans
  12. Choke, Spark-plug
  13. Seriously, anything electronic! They will find a way of sending it back to earth or pushing it into commercial use of the material so we don’t need to mine for more raw material.

EcoReco depends on environmentally-conscious citizens and corporates to assist them in saving the planet. You can help by:

  1. Collecting your e-waste and delivering it to their office (it is not economical for them to pick up  small quantities of e-waste from your home).
  2. Asking your neighbours and friends to pool in so you can make a one-time drop.
  3. Creating awareness about e-waste and its dangers.

EcoReco is asking people and companies to sponsor a large collection bin in any locality (St Xavier’s College has done so already), and EcoReco will collect any e-waste in it a certain number of times per year for FREE!

Saving Earth is now becoming easier. Take the step.

-Rachael Alphonso
(Rachael is one of the stubborn environmentalists in Green Madcaps who isn’t afraid to tell people off when they litter on Mumbai’s streets. She picks up litter/garbage strewn by people and returns it to them in their hands, asking them politely (but loudly, so passers-by can hear), ‘please use a garbage bin. We don’t litter our homes, so why the public street?’. Sometimes it gets embarrassing, but the results are fantastic!)

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