Only we can solve the problems we create. Like the problem of e-waste. However, for innovative problem-solving minds like team Ecoreco – Eco Recycling Ltd – Indian e-waste management is not a problem or looming threat but an unexplored opportunity.
Under the adept leadership of B K Soni, Chairman & MD, and Shashank Soni, the Director, Ecoreco acknowledges that India is poised to be an economic superpower by 2030.
They inform that having displaced Japan recently, India is now the 3rd largest Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) economy. By 2025, 30% of India’s population is expected to be 25-44 years old. This young and earning age profile of the burgeoning Indian population offers huge potential for electronic goods. Further, this has a significant economic and social impact as the rapidly increasing consumption and end-of-life rates of electronic products lead to a higher generation of e-waste. In this context, the need for e-waste management cannot be overemphasized.
Turning a Threat into an Opportunity
Contributing monumentally to this noble mission, Ecoreco’s efforts have been recognized by India’s Prime Minister. On 29th Jan 2023, Shri Narendra Modiji mentioned Ecoreco and its Mobile Application–BookMyJunk – (for e-waste collection) in his 1st Mann Ki Baat of 2023.
The reasons for this recognition are many. The most significant among them are that Ecoreco is
- The 1st E-waste Company to have been approved by the CPCB & MPCB.
- The 1st E-waste Company introduced the Recycling on Wheels Facility in India.
- The 1st E-waste Company for Data Destruction on Wheels Facility in India.
- The 1st E-waste Facility to win the prestigious Business Plan award from CII/NVI/WRI.
- The 1st E-waste Facility to win the Environment and Clean Energy award from Sankalp.
- The 1st E-waste Facility to win the Niche Market Player Award from Frost & Sullivan.
- The 1st E-waste Facility to win a Gold Medal from the Department of Science & Technology, FICCI, Lockheed Martin, USA, and others.
- Awarded as The Best E-waste Recycling Company.
- The only Company listed on the BSE in the segment and follows Corporate Governance as a BSE-listed entity.
- Moreover, Ecoreco has ISO 9001, 14001, 27001, OHSAS 18001 Certifications and R2V3 Registered Facility.
- The company is a NAID certified for Data Destruction activities, MOEF Authorized, Member of the Expert group formed by the MPCB, and B K Soni is a Director of MRAI (Material Recycling Association of India, the largest representative body of Recyclers in India.
- Furthermore, Ecoreco introduced Recycling on Wheels-SmartER, recommended by the PSA (under PMO) to all the Smart Cities. The CM and DCM of Maharashtra especially stopped to see Ecoreco’s Recycling on Wheels Facility.
- Moreover, while serving pan India, the company supports clients in 120+Countries to dispose of their e-waste in the respective countries.
- Ecoreco has its fleet of trucks and supports prestigious reverse logistic companies’ Producers’ Compliance Scheme to meet EPR. The BookMyJunk, a Mobile App mentioned by the PM, is a perfect solution for seamless e-waste collection from end consumers.
- Ecoreco is a Member of MRAI, NAID, CII, FICCI and other Associations, and funding support of NSDC for Skill Development of the Informal E-waste Workers.
An Honorable Venture
As a trailblazer in the e-waste management industry, taking us back to the beginning of their journey, the Chairman and MD says that back in 2005, when he embarked on the journey into the E-waste Management business in India as the pioneer, his initial fascination was drawn to the escalating consumption of electrical and electronic devices permeating every facet of our lives. It was unmistakable that this surge in consumption inevitably led to a parallel increase in e-waste generation, thus presenting a clear and compelling business opportunity.
“As time passed, I began to appreciate that e-waste recycling was not only a viable profession but also an honorable endeavor from the standpoint of environmental stewardship and ecological preservation,” he states.
There must be a genuine guiding philosophy behind Ecoreco being the best e-waste management Indian company. Sharing the same, Mr B K Soni says, “I must admit that during the formative years of my venture in 2005 and 2006, I had the privilege of engaging in conversations with numerous corporate leaders in India.”
He shares that as they deliberated on formalizing e-waste management, he observed a common trait among these accomplished entrepreneurs. They placed paramount importance on corporate, legal, environmental, and social compliance while simultaneously nurturing the growth of their diverse business portfolios and industries.
These principles and values upheld by these successful industrialists left an indelible impression on Mr B K Soni. “Their unwavering commitment to ethical and regulatory standards inspired me profoundly.” It became evident to him that the field of waste management could also be conducted with these guiding principles, which ultimately serve the greater interests of society as a whole.
Thus, Mr B K Soni’s leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind Ecoreco’s achievements. Shedding light on the same, he says, “As you are well aware, being a pioneer in any endeavor entails navigating a myriad of challenges and overcoming numerous obstacles when embarking on a journey to establish something entirely new from the ground up. Through the benevolence of providence and the unwavering support of a select few friends, coupled with the invaluable knowledge generously shared by the most accomplished recyclers from the developed world, I was fortunate enough to chart my course successfully.”
With their guidance and the determination to surmount every obstacle, Mr B K Soni gradually assembled a dedicated team to accompany him on this transformative journey.
Interloper in a Landfill
According to him, the essence of e-waste management lies in seamless operations and enhancing the ecosystem and environment. Constructing a new ecosystem, especially in an industry previously dominated by the informal sector, proved exceptionally formidable. Against the backdrop of this transition, Eco Recycling Ltd’s entry in 2005 was perceived as a challenge, “As we essentially were regarded as interlopers in an established landscape.”
Securing the necessary permissions to conduct their business was far from straightforward, primarily due to the absence of a clear policy framework governing such operations.
Mr B K Soni firmly believes that sustainability and environmental responsibility are crucial aspects of modern e-waste management. Above all, it’s vital to recognize that the fundamental essence of formal waste recycling is firmly rooted in the principles of environmental preservation and the regeneration of valuable resources for continued use. Consequently, sustainability and self-reliance emerge as pivotal components of the recycling equation.
Recycling on Wheels
Mr B K Soni adds that it’s essential to acknowledge that developed nations had established recycling systems long before Ecoreco ventured into this sector. This fortuitous exposure enabled him to observe best practices, state-of-the-art machinery, and cutting-edge technologies in these advanced nations. “Drawing upon these invaluable insights, I was able to lay the foundation for Ecoreco’s recycling infrastructure, tailored specifically to meet our local requirements and economic considerations,” he reveals.
However, one aspect Mr B K Soni takes great pride in is Ecoreco’s unwavering commitment to evolve and innovate continuously. “We consistently strive to develop new, cost-effective, and environmentally compliant methodologies and technologies.” This relentless pursuit allows them to stay competitive and thrive amidst challenges posed by the informal sector and other stakeholders who prioritize profit margins without investing in operational and capital expenses.
Technovating E-waste Management
In the realm of e-waste management, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. Mr B K Soni ensures that Ecoreco leverages technology to optimize their services and stay ahead in a digital age. The constant evolution of technology and the introduction of intricate devices constructed with novel materials constitute an inherent aspect of the cutting-edge equipment they employ. Consequently, recyclers must remain diligently updated with these ever-changing dynamics to recover valuable content from these advanced devices.
It’s important to remember that engineering, reverse engineering, and manufacturing and de-manufacturing are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, a recycler must adapt to these ongoing changes, as they are intertwined with resource recovery and recycling.
The workforce is the cornerstone of any successful organization. However, Mr B K Soni accepts that to claim they are untouched by the common challenges inherent in managing human resources would be far from the truth, especially in an industry like e-waste management, which is relatively nascent and lacks an abundant pool of readily available, well-trained personnel.
“Given this scenario, we recognize the imperative of upskilling our workforce and offering compensation commensurate with the roles and responsibilities of each individual. However, it is disheartening to note that these trained & skilled employees either start their own small dismantling facility or join the competitors for better salary” he reveals.
Beating the Odds
Regarding challenges they faced, Mr B K Soni says that, as previously mentioned, being a pioneer and the first mover in the industry came with its unique challenges. One of these challenges involved establishing the fundamental rules and standards for the sector, which subsequently became the blueprint for others to follow.
Navigating competition with informal players presented another significant hurdle. This competitive landscape added an extra layer of complexity in an environment with no established policies or clear-cut regulations.
Retaining skilled human resources emerged as an ongoing priority, given the dynamic nature of our field and the allure of more lucrative offers from competitors.
He says, “Additionally, we found ourselves embroiled in a price war, pitting the advanced recycling capabilities of Ecoreco against entities that had made minimal investments but laid claim to the title of recycling facilities.” This intensifying battle for market share posed its own set of challenges.
A Green Future Echoes
Yet, overcoming issues and staying ahead, Mr B K Soni looks optimistically to the future. “Over 19 years in the recycling business, we’ve witnessed numerous industry shifts and trends. However, one steadfast aspect remains unchanged: our unwavering commitment to upholding ethical practices in their truest form. We view ourselves not merely as service providers but as stewards, serving MNCs, OEMs, Corporations, and, most importantly, the Environment.”
“Our focus has never been on quantity alone; rather, our distinction lies in being chosen by responsible entities for the quality of our services, delivered under mutually agreed terms. It’s worth emphasizing that we do not chase sheer volume, but instead prioritize excellence.”
It’s pertinent to note that the consumption of electronic equipment is poised to persist for decades, inevitably leading to the continued generation of e-waste. “In this context, Ecoreco is firmly committed to adhering to the principles espoused by reputable organizations as we aspire to serve our stakeholders and the environment for the long haul,” he concludes.
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