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US entrepreneur moves from cartridge recycling to e-waste collection

US entrepreneur moves from cartridge recycling to e-waste collection

September 9, 2013

Jim Waklow, Gail and Barry Keyes of GreenSpot (Credit: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

Jim Waklow, Gail and Barry Keyes of GreenSpot (Credit: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

Barry Keyes’ GreenSpot Dropoff venture aims to help lower US e-waste dumping.

My Desert reported on Keyes, who resides in Palm Desert in California, and his 10 years in the recycling and e-waste business. Keyes’ first company, Coastal Recycling (now called GreenSense) allowed consumers to post empty printer cartridges for recycling, and his newer venture, GreenSpot Dropoff, allows consumers to drop off used electronics “within five miles of home”.

Keyes got into the industry “because I threw away a cartridge from a printer. I saw trash and turned it into cash. There was a huge appetite from manufacturers so they could refill (them)”. In 2009 he launched Greenspot Dropoff, with its drop-off spots situated at “self-storage companies” across California, with outposts in Texas and Pennsylvania, and his pitch to self-storage businesses is that “providing e-waste recycling will draw in more customers” seeking storage.

One particular site, Sparky’s Self-Storage in Coachella Valley, uses “gaylords” – bins that can hold up to 500 pounds (226 kilogrammes) of equipment, and which are routinely filled with e-waste. The company ensures collected equipment is picked up “about once every other month”, which is then “shipped to recyclers that are certified to ensure none of the material ends up in landfills or is shipped overseas”.

Mandy Knudtson, a Business Manager at E-Stewards, which certifies recyclers, stated that Keyes “seems to have hit a sweet spot” in the recycling market as there is currently no certification, adding that “it’s definitely a niche, the collecting side. There are 26 states that have electronic waste policies”. California is one of the only states to add a recycling fee onto the price of new electronics, with the proceeds going into a state fund that “cover[s] recycling costs”.

Customers that drop off e-waste at a GreenSpot location in turn need to fill out a tracking form, which in turn is used to “allocate money from the fund to pay recyclers”. Keyes added that whilst he “backed into” the recycling business, his company and others like it can “provide a way for the public to do the right thing”, and his next venture is green technology trade shows and conferences, including an online virtual trade show called Eco Expo 365.

Categories : Products and Technology

Tags : Business E-waste Recycling

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