Article Published: November 18, 2016
Article Published: November 18, 2016
By Hank Walshak, Contributing Writer, Walshak Communications, Inc.
Every entrepreneur starts with a vision to create a company with products or services no one can match. Jacob Metz, CEO of Evolution E-Cycling, is no exception. While still in grad school at Chatham University, he read about the problem of E-waste, or electronic waste, in the United States and the lack of infrastructure to process such material. That’s when he was inspired to launch a company to do the job.
His dream came at the right time. Our environment is, and has been, loaded with millions of tons of E-waste. And unless this computer and electronic waste is properly recycled, a number of harmful elements—including lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and polyvinyl chloride—perdure in the environment and harm people young and old.
After his Masters Degree, he and his brother, Chris, undertook a market study in 2011 about E-waste disposal in the Tristate area and the companies disposing of such waste. The study revealed few firms handling E-waste recycling and disposal.
“That’s when we knew the company we had in mind would fit well in this market. So we jumped in,” said Metz.
His timing was also influenced by The Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA), Pennsylvania Act 108, that would become law in November of 2010. By January 2013 a disposal ban on all “covered devices” went into place, and included desk-top computers, laptop computers, computer monitors and TVs both flat screen and CRT’s, or old style cathode ray tube monitors, and computer peripherals.
At the time, all he and his brother had were a laptop and a Chevy S-10 pickup truck. Fortunately, family members supplied them with the start-up capital they needed. Two years later, the company, now named Evolution E-Cycling, attracted two, independent investors to keep the company operating. In March 2017, the company will celebrate its 6th year in business and is now operating at a profit.
Jake guided the company through the permitting process with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and R2 certification by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). Those in the E-waste recycling industry recognize this certification as the most prestigious standard for electronics repair and recycling. Evolution E-Cycling is now one of just 600 companies in 21 countries around the world to be R2 certified.
Simultaneous to the R2 certification the company also qualified for ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications. ISO 14001 stands as the recognized framework for environmental management systems that help businesses manage the impact of their activities on the environment with sound environmental management. OHSAS 18001, an occupational health and safety management system, helps organizations to identify and control health and safety risks, reduce the potential for accidents, and improve overall performance.
The core business of Evolution E-Cycling has been, and will continue to be, computer and E-waste recycling and disposal for corporate customers, but the company has matured to match a shift in the industry. For this market niche, Metz and his management team have developed a unique selling proposition, called ITAD. E-waste recyclers charge corporate customers by the pound for the material they could otherwise refurbish into salable components. Charges can range from $.10 to $.30 per pound or even higher.
“We feel that the per-pound charge model is dead. That’s why we’re innovating not just adapting to industry trends with ITAD” he said.
Here’s how it works. Evolution E-Cycling contracts with a corporate customer that retires its legacy IT equipment. The company then helps this customer through the process of inventorying palletizing, and warehousing that equipment and by destroying all institutional data using either Department of Defense approved software to wipe data from hard drives or by physically destroying the drives in an industrial shredder. Evolution E-Cycling then re-markets the refurbished equipment to provide the customer with a return on its initial investment. Doing so can even cancel out the bill for service.
“Instead of getting an invoice, the customer gets a check,” said Metz.