Innovation That Matters

As our dependence on electronics grows, e-waste is becoming a major problem | Photo source John Cameron on Unsplash

Collecting and recycling electronic waste from homes and businesses


A social enterprise provides a convenient and fast service that allows consumers to exchange used electronics for cash

Spotted: Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to any discarded item that has a plug or a battery – and it is becoming a major problem.

According to a United Nations forecast, we are on track to produce 74 million metric tonnes of e-waste by 2030. And in 2019, each person on earth generated around 7.3 kilogrammes of e-waste – with only 1.7 kilogrammes recycled per person.

In Malaysia 25 per cent of e-waste is recycled, and startup ERTH is looking to improve this rate with a service that pays consumers to recycle their old electronic devices. The service works by employing a network of freelance drivers. When a customer has e-waste that they wish to recycle, the system matches them with the nearest driver – just as ride-hailing apps match users to a taxi driver. This driver then collects the e-waste and the customer receives a cash reward.

Drivers return the e-waste they have collected to a central warehouse on a weekly basis. ERTH’s recovery partner then comes to this warehouse and collects the e-waste for dismantling and segregation. All this e-waste is recycled through the proper, regulated channels, and the company claims it has stopped more than 200,000 kilogrammes of e-waste from ending up in landfill.

ERTH is not the only e-waste recycling service, and customers in Malaysia can also deal with recycling facilities directly. However, ERTH’s service offers several important benefits. First, the company claims that its competitors require a minimum of ten items, whereas ERTH only requires one working device or three non-working devices for free pick up. Second, the startup offers fast and convenient payment through cash, bank transfer, e-wallet, or cheque. Finally, the network of drivers does all the heavy lifting, taking the hassle and inconvenience out of the process.

In addition to its core service, ERTH also offers e-waste collection boxes, secure data destruction, and a B2B recycling programme.

Other e-waste focused innovations spotted by Springwise include a new process can efficiently recover metals from electronic waste, and an Indian startup that takes a collaborative approach to e-waste.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead



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