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Top 100: Let’s hear it for the e-scrap innovators

Fresno-based entrepreneur John Shegerian claimed spot #43 this year.

The global e-scrap recycling market was worth around US$ 3.3 billion (EUR 3.2 billion) last year and is predicted to exceed US$ 8 billion by 2028. RI’s Top 100 celebrates this highly competitive business by including almost thirty e-cycling leaders in the 2022 edition.

Tapio Kuusakoski (#40)

Recycling International frequently bumps into the e-scrap business director of Kuusakoski at conferences and trade shows and he has always company news to share. Latest from the Scandinavian recycling major is a EUR 20 million investment in new technology to further improve scrap quality.

‘It’s our response to the EU Green Deal. With ever-strict regulation and the growing demand for cleaner materials, there is no other choice than to take responsibility if you want to stay in business.’

Pascal Leroy (#72)

Leroy has overseen operations of the WEEE Forum since 2007. Besides writing papers on e-scrap and battery recycling, he has also supervised the innovative research and development Weelabex project, funded from the EU’s Life programme. Leroy’s efforts have been mainly geared towards fostering understanding between the many different stakeholders in the recycling sector, creating a European standard of excellence for e-scrap recycling and promoting extended producer responsibility schemes. He believes that blockchain technology will ‘push the boundaries’ of electronics recycling.

Sanjay Mehta (#91)

Metal recycler and recycling industry ambassador. In his role as president of the Material Recycling Association of India, Mehta has recently addressed the trade body’s growing concerns about the e-scrap mountain in his country and the lack of a proper collection and recycling infrastructure.

India is the third-largest producer of e-scrap after China and the US and more than 95% of this waste is handled by what is often called ‘the informal sector’.

Olivier Mbera (#80)

Promising recycling practices continue to pop up across the African continent, such as in Rwanda, a country that presents itself to the outside world as modern, efficient and above all Africa’s e-scrap recycling role model. With more than 7% GDP growth year-on-year since 2000, the tiny Central African nation has seen electronics use increase from 33 000 tonnes in 2014 to almost 50 000 tonnes in 2020 and it is projected to hit 300 000 tonnes by 2050.

‘Clearly, this is offering huge potential for electronics recycling,’ says Mbera, who leads the Enviroserve Green Park facility, set up by the Rwandan government in partnership with a local subsidiary of Dubai-headquartered electronics recycler Enviroserve.

Joost de Kluijver (#46)

‘Offering take-back services to hardware users is the new normal.’ De Kluijver’s company Closing The Loop, based in Amsterdam, collects and recycles end-of-life devices and is inspired by the ‘offsetting’ principle. ‘We have just made a deal with Vodafone Germany that sees it recycle a phone for every new one sold.’ De Kluijver’s network in Africa has facilitated the recovery of more than three million unwanted phones since 2014.

Lisa O’Donoghue (#74)

This widely published researcher is taking on liquid crystal displays (LCDs) with her company Votechnik. ‘Around 200 million TVs and 120 million computer monitors are sold globally every year,’ O’Donoghue points out. ‘That’s why I want to create automated plants to dismantle and depollute flatscreens.’

Her solution, the ALR4000 system, can currently process more than 60 LCD, LED and PC monitors per hour. O’Donoghue’s company is a spin-off inspired by her work as a materials scientist at the University of Limerick. Votechnik celebrated its tenth anniversary last year.  

John Shegerian (#43)

This entrepreneur from Fresno, California, campaigns for more sustainable and innovative e-scrap recycling. Shegerian has a weekly podcast called ‘Impact’ and he is frequently asked to speak at conferences, notably on the topics of cybercrime security.

He built Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) from a start-up in the early part of the century into what is said to be one of the biggest electronics recycling companies in the world with eight facilities in the US and a global network of 100 sites in more than 46 countries. Shegerian is eager to introduce new technology to boost capacity and scrap quality and robots Sam and Ernie lend a hand at ERI’s sorting lines in Fresno and Plainfield.

Venkatesha Murthy (#44)

Founder and owner of Vans Chemistry, an e-scrap business with its headquarters and trading office in Singapore and a recycling facility based in Bangalore, India. Murthy is among India’s high-level recyclers who continues to be a driver of ambitious e-scrap projects around the world. He is currently involved in setting up a EUR 20 million integrated precious metals recovery & refining facility in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) to be up and running by the end of the year.

A EUR 15 million e-scrap recycling plant is scheduled for Singapore while a similar, EUR 5 million project in Istanbul, Turkey is expected to start production by mid 2023. And at Bangalore the entrepreneur plans a EUR 6 million e-scrap facility to recover 25 000 tonnes of copper and precious metal per year. ‘I am looking for investors.’

Johan van Peperzeel (#68)

Van Peperzeel is a Dutch battery recycling pioneer who owns the largest battery recycling facility in the country, which he started more than three decades ago. He loves technology and has been fine-tuning a solution to combat electric vehicle fires for the last few years.

Having endured a fire at his own site, this battle against the flames is a very personal one. He is a popular panellist at events where he speaks out on the urgent need for practical ways to make transport safer and the proper labelling of dangerous and hazardous goods.

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