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Kundapur boy strikes gold in e-waste business [Mangalore] [Times of India]
[March 19, 2014]

Kundapur boy strikes gold in e-waste business [Mangalore] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MANGALORE: Did you know that 120-150 gm of pure silver can be extracted from X-ray films? Or that even the fixer solution, a chemical waste produced during X-ray process, holds 40 grams of silver content in a 10-litre solution? Meet Jnanesh Shenoy from Kundapur who has made e-waste his business. He passed out from TMA Polytechnic with a diploma in computer science in 2008. He now runs business in electrical accessories and web designing.

It's interesting how he ventured into e-waste business. "I didn't know e-waste had hidden treasures. In 2009, I was browsing Google to get some business ideas. That was when I learnt hospital X-ray films contained silver in it,'' he said.

This got him started. Jnanesh got around 30 kg of X-ray films every month for free. He used a basic chemical process -- again, researched from Google -- to extract silver and got around 150 gm of pure silver.

Silver, logically, led to gold via Google. "I came to know that small amounts of gold were used in computer processors, cellphone motherboards and SIM cards,'' he said. Soon, he started collecting e-waste in small quantities and experimented to see if it yielded the precious metal. And they did.

One of his friends with knowledge of chemistry, Rithesh Kamath, helped him out. "With his suggestion, I cautiously worked on the project and recovered 2-2.5 gm of gold from about 100 mixed processors and some cellphone parts,'' he said.

Jnanesh also discovered that platinum, an equally precious metal, is used in four-wheeler catalytic converters as honeycombs. "About 1 kg of honeycomb scrap holds about a gram of platinum, palladium and rhodium. Surprisingly, no one wants to make use of it,'' he said.

The neo-entrepreneur said all e-waste is exported, and automatic-recycling machinery used in China and Japan shreds the equipment and removes precious metals from the scrap. "India should help entrepreneurs set up largescale recycling units which will also generate jobs," he said.

(c) 2014 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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