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Posted: September 01, 2008

Sustainability spotlight

Guaranteed Recycling Xperts Inc

Kyle Ringo

Where: Denver
Founded: 1999
www.GRXRecycles.com

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
Guaranteed Recycling Xperts Inc. saves between 900,000 and 1 million pounds of electronics waste a month from being dumped into U.S. landfills and hazardous waste facilities. The company takes everything from old computers and television sets to copy machines and "any obsolete electronics" and breaks them down to core components such as plastic, heavy metals and precious metals.

All the materials are either reintroduced into the production process to be re-used in other products or are properly disposed of if they contain potentially harmful pollutants such as mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, phosphorous or polycarbons.

GRX has a solid reputation in its field, in part, because it does not export electronics waste to developing countries where it is much less likely to be disposed of properly. GRX earned the Greenovation Award this year at the 8th Annual Colorado Technology Association Apex Awards.

The award honors organizations making measurable efforts toward minimizing or eliminating negative impacts on the environment. The company is a signer of the Basel Action Network's Pledge, which set environmental business standards for electronics recycling.

"We’ve inspected their facilities before we did the contract with them and each year we've used them," said Jim Schrack, environmental program supervisor for the city of Aurora, a GRX customer for several years. "We do our due-diligence inspections, and we’ve been very happy with those inspections."

GREEN FROM GREEN
Company president Mike Wright said he has always played it pretty much down the center when it comes to the desire to protect the environment and the need to make money. He is not a crusader by any measure, but he enjoys the fact he has found a way to make a nice living and do some good for the planet in the process.

Wright grew up near the Rouge River in Detroit and said the water occasionally changed colors depending on what was happening at the Ford plant upstream. It was the first time he realized business and the environment can dramatically affect each other.

He purchased GRX in 2004 for less than $500,000 and began to grow it through investment and pursuing larger contracts. What was a three-person operation has become a growing company valued at approximately $5 million with 55 employees and locations in multiple states in the western U.S. The company hopes to add another processing operation in the coming months to those that already exist in Denver and Utah.

The need for companies such as GRX figures to grow as more state governments and the federal government consider implementing e-waste laws. Currently at least 15 states, most of the Canadian provinces, Europe, China and other countries have adopted e-waste legislation.

GRX completely breaks down electronics for re-use, potentially saving clients millions in possible fraud and data theft by those who might swipe valuable information from components such as computer hard drives that are not disposed of properly. The company guarantees its work with hard drives and furnishes certificates for every hard drive it destroys.

The company has become an up-and-coming player in the marketplace in a young industry that could be headed for significant consolidations and improvements in efficiency in the future.

"As this industry continues to grow there could be five or six companies emerge as leaders nationally and internationally," Wright said. "We will either be one of those companies or we will be acquired by one."

Postcript
A few weeks after Wright spoke those words GRX was acquired by Centillion Environment and Recycling Limited, which already has extensive recycling industry holdings in the United States. The Singapore-based company will pay GRX $4 million in cash and an additional $3 million over the next three years.

"This acquisition will bring the two businesses to the next level by giving us both access to a larger network of recycling operations to better serve our customers," Wright said in a statement released Aug. 15 as ColoradoBiz went to press.

Kyle Ringo is a Colorado native who has covered business and sports and the business of sports in the state for two decades for Cobizmag.com and a variety of publications. He covers the University of Colorado in his day job in Boulder at the Daily Camera. Contact him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @KyleRiingo.

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