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IIT Madras Develops Digital Platform to Sort out e-waste, to Faucet into Market Value $50 Billion


The Indian Institute of Expertise (IIT) Madras is creating a mannequin to sort out digital wastes or e-waste by linking patrons and sellers within the formal and casual economies. To be referred to as ‘e-Source,’ the digital platform will likely be an trade platform for Waste Electrical and Digital Tools (WEEE) and facilitate a proper provide chain between varied stakeholders, says the IIT.

“According to studies, currently the world annually generates 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste, which is expected to double in the next 16 years. Studies also estimated that 85 percent of this is being lost globally. IIT Madras researchers, focused on the ‘circular economy,’ are working to address the gaps in the e-waste sector, which can potentially open doors to a $50 billion economy,” the institute says.

Between 2019 and 2020, Indians generated 38 percent more e-waste. Only five percent of e-waste is recycled responsibly in the country, adds the institute.

This e-waste initiative is being spearheaded by Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) and aims to make WEEE a key resource in the evolution of a circular economy by establishing traceability and recovery of post-consumer e-waste in the market.

IIT Madras e-waste development chart

Prof Sudhir Chella Rajan, Faculty Member, Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS), IIT Madras explains, “E-wastes are typically either completely stripped down for precious metals and other high-value materials or dumped in landfills, without exploring potential re-use and repurposing options. Unscientific recycling methods are harmful to waste handlers and the environment.”

Chella adds that the initiative will “evolve towards using machine learning for better traceability of e-waste in compliance with guidelines and help increase the opportunities for repair and re-use of e-waste. This will potentially improve livelihoods for youth and women in periurban settings by upgrading their skills and improving occupational health and safety, reduce the flow of toxic materials in waste streams and broaden the market for affordable, second-hand e-devices.”

The workforce has accomplished the preliminary market analysis and mapping of the varied stakeholders within the e-waste ecosystem by direct on-the-ground/telephonic conversations and consultations mixed with secondary analysis. The beta model of the web platform is prepared, claims the institute.

The IIT Madras workforce could be deploying a detection system that makes use of a mix of picture processing and pure language processing methods to extract product data and add it to the database.

As soon as vital knowledge units can be found, the workforce would advance in direction of deploying machine studying capabilities to make sure simple retrieval of the merchandise.

The longer term plans of the e-Supply initiative embrace creating focused outreach campaigns to bridge the information hole for all customers, particularly casual actors, on using a digital platform and the advantages of the platform. “The intent is to on-board customers with out exposing or posing any risk to their current livelihoods,” says IIT Madras.

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