For Bengaluru's Vishwanath Mallabadi, there is no such thing as ‘waste’. He creates artwork from discarded metal, old gadgets, and dysfunctional printed circuit boards.
The Wipro executive who turned into an eco-artist after retirement buys e-waste from scrap dealers and recyclers and makes jewellery, murals, and sculptures from it.
He has upcycled and transformed nearly 200 kg of e-waste into usable products and proposes eco-art as a means to deal with waste management.
“I started this as a fun activity. I used to collect a lot of e-waste, and nobody knew what I was trying to do exactly,” says the 60-year-old.
“But upon learning about the implications of e-waste on the environment, I started creating murals and sculptures, and slowly it turned into a business,” he adds.
Vishwanath has now started selling his unique artworks and says he has buyers from Europe, the Netherlands, the US and also Delhi.
So far, the eco-artist has created more than 500 artefacts. These include a 6-ft tall sculpture made from upcycled computer keyboard keys on a mannequin.
However, the process of upcycling is not that easy, says Vishwanath. The work involves scrutinising the e-waste objects and visualising and conceptualising the final product.
“It takes just two-three minutes to create a piece of jewellery, but it might take weeks and months for sculptures,” he informs.
He has given a talk at the first International Data Science Conference on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on putting e-waste to good use.