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Reviving used equipment is good business

‘We’ve all seen how the pandemic and subsequent shortage of components and materials has resulted in longer delivery times for new products. This goes for consumer electronics and cars – and recycling equipment is no exception,’ says Julien Jean, owner of MyScrapMachine. It’s common for recyclers to wait weeks if not months for their new machine to arrive. ‘There is another way,’ insists Jean. ‘Buying what’s already on the market.’

While visits to vendors were out of the question during the global travel restrictions over the past two years, there was a big spike in the purchase of used recycling equipment. ‘That peak still hasn’t worn off,’ Julien Jean says. ‘There is no doubt that the second-hand market is becoming increasingly more important for recyclers worldwide. This includes refurbished machines, which can offer relatively high performance given their age.’

Witnessing this trend in 2019, the owner of MyScrapMachine stopped watching from the sidelines and launched a new online platform selling ‘tried and tested’ recycling machinery. ‘The main idea was to help recycling enter the digital era. It’s inevitable for companies to modernise if they want to remain competitive and be a truly global player.’

No copycats

Tens of thousands of visitors are registered with the site, which sees a lot of daily traffic. Up for auction are shredders, balers, shears and material handlers by well-known brands such as Hammel and Sennebogen. Seeing familiar names and machines gives people the confidence to make a purchase, Jean says. Buyers and sellers are largely from Europe and North America.

Fierce competition in the industry has also resulted in machine designs being recycled by new companies hoping to gain a foothold in the market. ‘We refuse to promote so-called “copycat” equipment because we want to guarantee top quality and reliability at all times,’ Jean insists. ‘This isn’t something we worry about with established brands.’

Sellers on the platform are verified to avoid scams but Jean laments it is impossible to keep everyone 100% satisfied. ‘I recall when a specific type of machine appeared on the site twice at around the same time. It was offered by two different parties at two different prices.’ One of them then complained that their competitor was asking a lower price.

‘He wanted me to boot him off the platform. But that wouldn’t be fair, would it? We ensure that listings are in order and the prices make sense. As for the rest, we don’t intervene; let the market do its work.’

A machine for everyone

‘Activity on our site is constantly growing since we’ve gone live, with inquiries increasing from month tomonth,’ Jean states. Most of the second-hand equipment finds a new home at facilities in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, the US, Canada and Turkey. ‘We have a lot of repeat customers as well as recyclers who know exactly what they need for a specific occasion,’ he says. They buy the machine and that’s that. As long as it’s a happy customer, that’s what we care about.’

Recycling equipment has a long life cycle, so pinpointing the average age of products on offer is pointless. ‘We have machines that are more than 20 years old and demo machines that have only been in operation for three or four hours and are therefore virtually brand-new,’ Jean explains. ‘I’d say the demo machines are a good compromise for someone looking for an innovative recycling solution at a very attractive price.’

Mobile solutions attract the greatest interest. ‘Mobile machines are never on the site for long. They are eagerly snatched up and are immensely popular due to their versatility.’ Time is something recycling operators can’t afford to waste: ‘The main thing they’re looking for is a machine that is robust and works efficiently without breaking down. After all, every minute the machine is down loses them money.’

Young and driven

Looking ahead, Jean says a fundraising campaign is on the agenda in the coming months to improve the online portal. The company is also looking to expand the team by the end of the year. ‘As a very young platform we are focussing on boosting trust and building our own reputation,’ Jean adds.

‘It also helps that the reputation of used equipment is improving day by day. It’s seen as a valid option, not a second-rate choice.’ Having a young team also means paying attention to aspects sometimes neglected by the big players, the businessman argues. ‘We are very active on social media networks, for instance. It’s important to get your message out there and reach people in the industry directly.’

Meanwhile, the pandemic proved how vital software and digital solutions are in today’s business. Trade shows may have been cancelled but sales continued online. ‘Whether a recycler feels he needs to see the machine in person typically depends on the price tag of and how much he trusts the seller. Naturally, a person buying a machine for one million Euros will not behave in the same way as a person buying one for EUR 5 000,’ he adds with a laugh.

A bold ambition of the young team at MyScrapMachine is to open offices in several countries both within and outside Europe. ‘We want to be as close as possible to our users,’ Jean underlines. ‘The ultimate goal is to be able to compete with the big players running an online marketplace – no more, no less.’

As the topic of recycling gains momentum worldwide, he is confident second-hand equipment will become ever more important. ‘There’s a bright future for us, I’m sure of it.

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