EcoCentric Forecasts Global E-Waste Recycling To be $50B Industry

A scheme called CGTSME i.e Collateral Free loans under Credit Guarantee Trust for SMEs

Karan Thakkar, Founder of EcoCentric Waste Management Pvt. Ltd. started his journey from being an employee at KPMG, his first organization after attaining graduation, where his role was to advise the companies on risk and strategies.

BWDisrupt spoke to Karan Thakkar, Founder of EcoCentric to know more about his businesss venture-

Since his vertical focus was metals and mining, Karan got opportunities to visit some of the biggest mines across the world. While working with these companies, Karan was intrigued with the fact that mining operations hurt the environment in big way. He realised the latent need of a mechanism to replenish the entire system, failing which the ecology would face dire consequences.

Aspiring to transform the ecological scenario, Karan quit his job in May 2010 to explore and chase this envisaged dream. For the first 6 months, he travelled from city to city, scrap yard to scrap yard in order to understand the e-waste problem and industry better. On gathering valuable insights, figuring out loop-holes and charting a robust strategy, he started EcoCentric in Jan 2011.

Initially, Karan started with advising companies without having his own recycling facility. Since he was a consultant and not the end recycler, not many companies took him seriously. On the other hand, many Indian and Multinational companies were gaining speed by this time. So by the end of 2011, he took plunge to start his own recycling plant.

Setting up a recycling facility needed capital. Karan liquidated all his savings and approached banks for loan. A scheme called CGTSME i.e Collateral Free loans under Credit Guarantee Trust for SMEs. He never thought of raising equity at this stage as he was not sure about the business model and how would the company make profits.

Khopoli was then finalized as the plant location as it is strategically equidistant from Mumbai and Pune, so that EcoCentric could serve both the markets. By 2013, the company had 3 promoters/owners - Karan Thakkar, Hemal Damani, Sanket Chauhan.

The good and bad about E-waste is that all electrical and electronic equipment consists of E-waste and when it comes to harnessing opportunities, the sky is the limit! From Data Destruction, Pan India Logistics pickup EcoCentric became an end to end Asset Management company, providing fully Integrated Recycling Plant with 24/7 Video Recording facility and E-waste collection drives at the grassroots level in multiple cities . Currently, the biggest Challenge is awareness. Waste Management is a necessity but people have to feel the necessity of it. So far the sense of urgency has not seeped in.

From 2013 till date, EcoCentric has processed above 1500 tons of E-waste. The Company is growing year on year. They started the fundraising process, and successfully raised their first round of growth capital which will be used to increase capacity and expand their reach pan-India. The undisclosed amount has been raised from UK-based seed-stage investor Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, founder of Euro Car Parts, one of UK’s biggest parts distributors for cars and light vehicles. Badri Baldawa, founder of the three-decade-old Seeba Group, also participated in the round. The Mumbai-based Seeba Group manufactures and exports stainless steel kitchenware and homeware products.

The Company plans to utilize this capital to increase their processing capacity and reach across India. They have also initiated many campaigns for individuals as well, the latest being the #IAmEcoCentric campaign with Café Coffee Day, where the company placed 10 bins across their outlets. This gives individuals and end-users an opportunity to get rid of their e-waste.

The company has a very holistic approach towards E-waste Challenge. They conduct many awareness campaigns to educate scrap dealers, NGOs, schools and colleges. They provide solutions for both Corporate and individuals.

With the Make in India campaign and rampant growth in consumption, India’s electronic consumption is going to increase manifold. Globally E-waste recycling will be a 50 billion dollar industry.

After ensuring that the hazardous waste is treated all the recyclables are processed and then sold further and money is realized. The Company is increasing their capacity by setting up a new 10,000 mtpa recycling plant and also setting up Dismantling Plants in South & North. Their plan is to be in the top 10 cities generating E-waste in India in the next 2-3 years.

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