How does recycling your electronic waste (e-waste) for the return of gold and silver rewards sound to you? Yes, you heard it right!  A Malaysian company is helping to literally convert e-waste into gold and silver as part of its commitment to address the growing e-waste crisis in the country.

Vimalan Arumugam, Founder & CEO of Telcov
Vimalan Arumugam, Founder & CEO of Telcov

Introducing Telcov and its founder Vimalan Arumugam, whose strong entrepreneurial spirit and big ambitions have sparked the innovative idea of turning e-waste into valuable resources in advocating a sustainable and circular economy.

Vimalan had first identified the opportunity for establishing his e-waste social enterprise after observing how e-waste is becoming the fastest waste stream globally that poses serious environmental and health risks.

The issue is no exception in Malaysia whereby in 2019, e-waste contributed to 360 kilo tonnes of junk being dumped by unregulated operators at illegal sites and landfills that has led to uncontrolled pollution and unethical mismanagement of waste. The acceleration of technology over the last few decades has resulted in the increased generation of e-waste as gadgets quickly become obsolete and are constantly replaced by the rapid production of new upgrades.

For him, the environmental concern was also compounded by the fact that precious metals from the components are unwittingly wasted from being discarded during the disposal process.

“It’s for this reason that we first learnt about the urban mining model, which is a concept coined by Professor Hideo Nanjyo of the Research Institute of Mineral Dressing and Metallurgy at Tohoku University in the 1980s,” said Vimalan.

“By virtue of this concept, it became novel for us to introduce an innovative e-waste recycling solution supported by our proprietary mobile app for e-waste collection, while rewarding users with the recovered precious metals from devices that no longer serve their purpose, and which would have otherwise ended up at dump yards.”

Innovative E-waste recycler offers bullions made from upcycled assets as trade offs 1

With Telcov, the process is simple. It starts with acquiring these assets via a three-pronged approach, namely its mobile app, scheduled collection areas, or drop-off points from target waste generators or broadly known as consumers, who count households, factories, scrap collectors, and even government contracting agents.

Once acquired, it is onward to mining, in which the company’s state-of-the-art facility and its team of skilled experts carefully dismantles the electronic components and farms precious raw materials by applying cutting-edge mechanical and chemical treatments to ensure their mint condition.

The valuable raw materials that are usually seen and salvaged include aluminium, brass, copper, iron, platinum, silver, and gold (no less!). Once recovered and harvested, they will be used to produce precious metal to incentivize or reward responsible recycling habits of their e-waste.

E WASTE RECYCLING
E WASTE RECYCLING

A unique component of this precious metal reward comes in the form of high-purity bullion, which will either be certified gold or silver bars (10 grams or pure silver or 1 gram of pure gold bar) to be offered as a trade-off based on the recycled asset’s value once it is surrendered to Telcov.

“We are confident of the silver or gold bar’s compelling value proposition to motivate environmentally conscious consumers to practise proper recycling. Our intention is to also create an opportunity for all consumers to own a world-class precious metal bullion with the simple act of recycling,” said Vimalan, founder of Telcov, . Besides the precious gold and silver bullions, consumers can also opt for cash trade-off as a revenue stream for their recycled / sold gadget.

Vimalan added that Telcov was first founded in 2019 as a sole proprietor known at that time as VR Industries Enterprise that started off recycling by partnering with licensed companies. It was later rebranded to Telcov in 2021 and a year later in 2022, the company successfully raised over RM3mil through equity crowdfunding comprising investors from 14 countries, and secured its very own recycling licence from the authorities.

The factory today sits in Semenyih, Selangor, and is a Department of Environment (DOE)-approved facility compliant to international standards, where Telcov is authorised to recycle up to 300 metric tonnes of e-waste monthly for households and corporations. To date, Telcov has extracted RM1.5mil (and counting) worth of gold, silver, and palladium from e-waste.

“We are continuously looking to improve our operations whether it is investing in new technologies or R&D or seeking out new opportunities to ensure sustainability of this business model down the line.

“Over the next two years between 2025 and 2026, we are working towards a few targets, such as launching and implementing our nationwide collection points for collection of e-waste, and deploying a wider use of automation that would reduce our dependence on manual labour.

“Additionally, we are envisioning our business expansion into lithium battery recycling to continue differentiating our offerings from other competitors,” said Vimalan. He added that the global e-waste market is bursting with potential and is hopeful of what the future presents given how the world is increasingly reliant and interconnected with technology. At the same time, he reasoned that it is people’s civic responsibility to dispose of their assets the right way to negate environmental impacts and pollution, and hence his unwavering optimism.

“In fact, the future of technology is dependent on raw materials that can be found in e-waste but which the potentials have yet to be tapped on.

“With silver for example, it is an important material in the production of solar panels, hence we are merely harnessing these resources that are no longer of service so that they don’t end up wasted while elsewhere, people are digging up more of such resources that are already scarce and detrimental to the planet.”

To start disposing and recycling your e-waste, download the Telcov app on your Android or iOS mobile. The redeemable points calculated from the e-waste value will be updated in your app within 24 hours from the time that your electronic reaches Telcov’s recycling facility.

To learn more, visit https://telcov.com/.

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