E[co]work Association - India

E[co]work, a co-working space adapted to the informal e-waste recycling sector

Contract: 2019.10
Resource Efficiency

E[co]work, a Co-working Space Adapted to the Informal E-waste Recycling Sector

Project Type:

Pilot Project


Resource Efficiency



Project State:


Project Start:

December 2019

End of Project:

Planned 2022


E[co]work Association, St. Gallen,, Andrea Wehrli

© E[co]work Association
© E[co]work Association

Swiss Contribution

E[co]work is a startup project of Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories of Materials Science and Technology. Empa has been leading the Swiss development cooperation engagement on e-waste for more than 15 years. The Indian branch of the Swiss headquartered consultancy Sofies is involved as a local partner, with over 10 years of e-waste technical expertise.


In India, 95% of the e-waste is handled by the informal sector using mostly dangerous and polluting work processes while providing a livelihood for many at the bottom of the pyramid. Recently introduced regulations are forcing the sector to formalize and integrate with larger corporate players. However, restrictive rules, capital-intensive requirements and difficult authorization procedures prevent micro-entrepreneurs from complying. By pooling costs, the E[co]work space will provide a legal and safe work environment and will be able to offer services currently inaccessible or unaffordable to informal micro-entrepreneurs. This includes, but is not limited to, adequate tools, protection, ventilation, lighting, machines, as well as services such as trainings, healthcare, banking and digital access. The E[co]work space does not take over the business of informal micro-entrepreneurs, but instead aims to enable and support them in their individual business development. The project will set up a pilot E[co]work space in Delhi, which shall work as a self-sustaining business model.