Do you know what happens to our electronics once we’re done with them?
These young women do. And they’ve got a plan to fix it.
Last year, Shriya, Kritika, Sneha, Shraddha, and Aditi, all between the ages of 14 and 17, developed Eedo, “an end-to-end connection between e-waste producers and authorized recyclers” to solve the enormous (and growing) problem of electronic waste. Globally, we improperly dispose of approximately 80% of e-waste, creating toxic fumes and polluting water in the process.
The girls, who live in Noida, India, feel this impact directly. India is the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world (after China, the United States, Japan, and Germany), and its electronics industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world. In 2018 Shriya, Kritika, Sneha, Shraddha, and Aditi decided to do something to fight the growing problem facing their community. They joined Technovation Girls as Team Cantavits and got to work studying the problem in front of them. Aditi explains that the idea came in part from “an article about e-waste…that highlighted the environmental hazards that it can cause if not disposed of properly” as well as from hearing Prime Minister Modi discuss the issue. Motivated, the girls got to work building Eedo – and eventually earned a place at Technovation World Pitch, the global finals of Technovation Girls, where they won 1st place in their division.
How Eedo works – and why it matters.
Eedo allows regular consumers to properly dispose of electronics by connecting them directly to authorized recyclers who physically pick up the items from the user. The user pays the recyclers a previously-agreed upon fee, and the transaction is finished. By making it easier for users to connect with responsible recyclers, Eedo helps move the needle on proper waste disposal, limits the toxins leaching from e-waste into surrounding soil and water, and mitigates pollution.
While some of us may take our electronics for granted and stop thinking about them once we throw them out, Team Cantavits (and Eedo users!) show us why we need to be more thoughtful – and help us turn that consideration into action. Shriya explains that this human tendency towards thoughtlessness surprised the team – “one obstacle I hadn’t predicted was enlisting people for our cause. I had anticipated that everyone would be eager to use our app, not that they would think that it was ‘too much of a hassle.’ However, I was able to overcome this problem by telling people about the adverse effects of improper e-waste disposal.” We’re inspired by the girls’ perseverance and commitment to raising awareness of e-waste and its environmental threats. We especially admire their vision, which extends far beyond the app or even programming – “we are not just coding for only creating a market, we are coding for solving a problem that is a real one – and giving a solution for that is a big deal” Kritika told Good Morning America.
What solution will you give the world?
Eedo is one piece of the larger global problem of e-waste, but when put together with other legislative and regulatory efforts it all adds up. The big problems – climate change, domestic abuse, opioid addiction – can feel overwhelming and impossible to solve, but the global problem solvers remind us again and again that sometimes the best place to start is our own backyards, and that a small step is far better than no step at all. What about you? What problem will you tackle this year? Get ready to solve it by joining Technovation Families or Technovation Girls. Are you an adult? Do you think you have the empathy and courage it takes to support teams like Rana and Selina as a mentor? We think you do – register as a mentor today.