Don't trash your e-junk

BINBAG IT

Don't trash your e-junk

Just look around your home. Ranging from disused keyboards to down-graded e-readers, to even that small pen drive tucked away behind the monitor for ages, your home is certainly full of e-junk!

It’s sad that while we are sure to dispose of all the other kinds of waste, we tend to hoard all the electronic waste. But that maybe just because we are civic-minded. We are well aware that e-waste shouldn’t be thrown out like other garbage; it has chemicals that pollute the environment.

Sometimes, when there is no space left whatsoever, we may resort to giving it to scrapdealers. While it may be the easy way out, we should know that they are not equipped to deal with disposing of e-waste. Barely anyone knows that there are 34
authorised e-waste recycle points in the city.

Bangalore generates 86,000 tonnes of e-waste and 15 per cent is generated from homes. Yet, we are not aware of any safe and responsible ways to dispose of it, and even if we do, we are too caught-up in our busy lives to drive down to those points at far ends of the city.
Enters Achitra Borgohain, an ex-engineering student and ex-corporate professional, who has made it his life’s mission to execute e-waste recycling plan across the city, with his social entrepreneurial start-up ‘Binbag’.

The organisation is barely a few months old, as is Achitra’s idea, and is under incubation at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore’s N.S. Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL). The screening committee is backing his idea with infrastructure, work space and mentoring support. The Binbag concept involves giving gifts or money to those who dipose of their e-waste to this start-up.

It was a happy day for Binbag, recently, when a man drove his car from a far corner of the city, past the gates of IIM, and gratefully unloaded all his e-waste for authorised recycling. But not everybody has the determination and patience that man probably did.

Achitra explains, “E-waste is very hazardous when it reaches the landfill and is burnt. Our purpose is to channelise e-waste to authorised recyclers and provide that
last-mile connectivity.” And so, he came up with a novel plan.

Now, you can just call Binbag to the next social event you are hosting, and ask all the invitees to bring their load of e-junk and drop it off at a counter organised for it.

Binbag will then assess the electronic trash, and even pay you in cash or gift coupons for being such a responsible citizen, and later. take all the waste and dump it at an authorised e-waste recycle point, on your behalf.

Although Binbag is a responsible business model, it has been explicitly designed for serving a social cause. Mixing business and social ethics, it has its heart in the right place. Maintains Achitra, “This kind of model can be run only on passion.” But what really made such a civic-minded young man out of him? He puts it down to his Sainik School upbringing in Assam, where the concept of shramdaan sowed the seeds.

The 300-acre school campus, including the buildings and extensive grounds, were kept clean by the students in a massive service-to-community project. It just took him that one turning point, that one driving force, when he had about 30 kg of electronic trash and had no clue how to dispose of it in a safe manner. This made a huge impact on Achitra's mind and the spirit of shramdaan has now manifested itself in his Binbag project.

So, the next time you’re having a family get-together, or office party, or a social event of any kind, take your e-junk along and Binbag it! And if you’re a student or teacher, you can convince your school authorities to adopt the Binbag idea. The money or gift coupons received in exchange for the e-waste collected can be channelised to yet another social cause, in favour of education for underprevileged children. There are several possibilities with this idea, and you barely need to move a finger yourself. So, go on and make that difference already!

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