Electronic Recycling Company CompuCycle Helping Companies Go Green

Posted on August 8th, 2012 by
   

Clive Hess, CEO of CompuCycle, discusses how his company helps companies responsibly dispose of their electronics.

Full Transcript:

Ben Lack How does CompuCycle compete in the electronic recycling space?
Clive Hess We are a certified electronic recycling company. We are R2 certified, it’s not R2D2 just R2. R2 stands for Responsible Recycling Practices and it is an EPA accredited certification. And we are also ISO 14001 certified.  We provide responsible recycling solutions, business focuses on refurbishing open for reuse, re-sell of components and environmentally responsible electronic waste recycling and Compucycle we began our lives in 1996 and we service both East Houston and Texas markets and we also do provide national services to regarding end of life computer asset management and recycling services.
Ben Lack Tell me a little bit about what’s happening to your industry over the last 2-3 years and what types of problems and opportunities you see for your company.
Clive Hess In the last 3 years, certainly in the US, there has been a great drive for responsible and green recycling practices. And fortunately in our industry, there has been a drive towards companies becoming certified in the electronic recycling process to prevent product from being landfill and product from being exported to countries or to companies that do not have the ability to recycle products in the correct manner.Let me add that many states today have adopted electronic recycling laws. There is no national law for electronic recycling. So each state is a little different and may have laws that are not necessarily compliant to another state. But the most stringent recycling laws would be in California where product cannot be landfill; the actual state is actually funding for recycling. And living in Texas unfortunately, we do have some laws. They are not as stringent as most other states but they do exist, which is certainly better than nothing. But we hope that there will be some more stringent laws going forward.What’s happening in our industry is that as companies are recycling products more effectively and efficiently, certified companies are preventing product from being disposed incorrectly. Corporations and municipalities and cities now have the ability to work with responsible companies and disposing of the assets.
Ben Lack Talk me about more of what we’re talking about Nationally and then within the state of Texas.
Clive Hess I believe there’s probably about 5 billion pounds of e-waste being disposed of nationally in the United States. Of that amount of product, only about up to 20% of the product is being recycled correctly or responsibly. A lot of e-waste is ending up in landfills, to incinerators or being exported overseas. I’d say, similarly in Texas, I think that in 2010 there’s about 24 or 25 million pounds that of e-waste generated in Texas. And if we take the national percentage about 20% of that was disposed of directly. So there’s about, that’s about 5 million pounds, about 19 million pounds of electronics in Texas is either ending up in landfills, incinerators or being exported to developing countries.It is certainly, significant amount of products, electronics currently make up about 70% of the heavy metals found in landfills and electronics e-waste contains potentially hazardous materials if not handled correctly. There is mercury cadmium, beryllium and toxic elements in lead in e-waste. So really sending e-waste a landfill, where we can recycle it to something we definitely want to prevent.
Ben Lack What’s the community like in Houston? Is it a city that’s open to embracing this kind of philosophy?
Clive Hess I must give the city of Houston credit that the mayor of Houston has initiated a sustainability program and a green program within Houston and has put a lot of efforts to promote social responsible recycling within Houston and this is really being promoted to corporations in Houston. They have downtown districts; they’ve initiated a recycling campaign that corporations can take part in. So I have to give them credit for doing that. Unfortunately, Texas is such a large state and unlike other states for example in the North East where there’s a space constraint when it comes to landfills, Texas is so large that putting products in the landfill is very easy.There’s certainly is a responsible movement in Houston but our goal and ethics is trying to educate communities to recycle products responsibly, to not landfill the equipment. But because it is such a large city and a large state, a lot of people are dumping the product in trash and not land filling. It’s like our move is to educate corporations, to educate residents to recycle correctly, to provide a convenient drop off locations and sort of products can be recycled, to encourage manufacturers to participate in sponsoring and supporting recycling drives. There’s an effort, but Texas is definitely behind the rest of the Nation in the recycling efforts.
Ben Lack I want to talk a little bit about the ‘What If’ campaign. How did the program came about and  what path do you see for success?
Clive Hess The ‘What If’ campaign was born a few months ago. And the benefits, key benefits that businesses through the What If campaigns, such as accounting firms, law firms, manufacturers, most businesses would gain from participating in the ‘What If’ campaign is, they can risk avoidance by responsible recycling of waste, by donating it to the ‘What If’ campaign.Through the ‘What If’ campaign we can measure the product that we’re receiving. By donating the equipment, corporations can get tax benefits. And they can also help create jobs for individuals with disabilities within the local community by donating the equipment. Certainly for corporations there is branding and public relations opportunities by them participating the program. But really the program is about providing an opportunity for corporations to donate their products.We will collect the products, we will process the product, we as a certified company, we’ll erase the data from the hard drive, we will recycle the product responsibly and we will provide jobs to individuals with disabilities. Through this program, we feel that we’re helping our corporate customers become part of the solution in the Houston Community to responsibly recycle their electronics. Some people may say that as we’re transforming the end-of-life electronics into sustainable local jobs and by donating the equipment that they’re no longer using, companies are making a difference for Houstonians with disabilities.Regarding job creation most electronics that we collect are designed with planned obsolescence in mind. They use a certain number of years and then dispose all that had been disposed in the landfills; we can certainly prevent that from happening. And we found a great part in Houston, who are not afraid take a leap ahead and provide innovative partnerships for job opportunities and through the ‘What If’ campaign and the partnerships with Eastern Sales the equipment will help generate solutions and stay out of the landfills and out of our water supplies.
Ben Lack Why are you doing what you’re doing and why have you chosen this industry?
Clive Hess I have to say I love what I do. We make a difference, we have the ability to refurbish products for reuse, to recycle the products. We have the expertise and the experience and we can make a difference. There are companies such as Compucyle and Eastern Sales nationwide that are making a difference and we’re very passionate of what we’re doing and I’ve got to tell you that on the personal level I’m just delighted that we can provide jobs to individuals of disabilities and make a difference within our communities. So it’s a passion that’s just inside.

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