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Hidden treasures: electronics recyclers strive for profitable and environmentally friendly homes for end-of-life electronics.

Today's dynamic electronics marketplace has created unique challenges and opportunities involving the reuse, remarketing and recycling of electronic scrap and surplus inventory. With commodity prices at near record highs and innovative electronic recycling methods becoming increasingly cost effective, "hidden value" can be found in virtually all post-industrial and post-consumer scrap.

Technology-related scrap has become a global concern, with experts predicting that approximately 1 billion obsolete computers will be added to the waste stream by 2010, including one obsolete computer for every new computer being manufactured. Clearly, this problem can only be addressed through innovative inventory management, asset recovery and total re source recycling programs combining economic and environmental benefits.

The advent of "cradle-to-grave" environmental liability has also changed the way that materials are engineered, manufactured, disposed of and/or recycled. As a result, asset recovery firms such as the one of which I am president, Dan-Mar Components, Deer Park, N.Y., must respond proactively with fully integrated solutions that protect against environmentally based legal liability and regulatory compliance issues.

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. Dan-Mar recognized early on that the electronics recycling business would become increasingly complex and would require a global mindset in order to remain competitive and flexible on a worldwide basis.

In response, we created a business model that builds on strategic partnerships, with separate management groups focusing on specific areas. Our Partner Program, which boosts client revenues using consignment sales, is a cornerstone of our business.

The program is based on the premise that recyclers should never assume that technology waste is valueless. There's growing value in the resale of virtually all electronic components and equipment as well as in the precious metals, base metals and plastic contained in electronic scrap.

Dan-Mar's global focus was based on the realization that a growing percentage of post-industrial scrap was coming from outside the United States, from places like Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Continental Europe and the Asian Rim.

As the electronics marketplace becomes increasingly complex and global, many general recyclers are choosing to focus on core competencies, allowing allied partners such as Dan-Mar to manage the disposition of corporations' excess electronics and electronic scrap.

SUCCESSFUL PAIRINGS. Traditionally, many scrap dealers and electronic recyclers preferred immediate payment for surplus materials through outright purchase agreements, mainly because such agreements are straightforward and offer immediate closure. Alternatively, Dan-Mar offers the Partner Program, which offers potentially higher returns.

Under the Partner Program, as we sell inventory, revenues go directly to the partner, and we get a pre-negotiated fee based upon a percentage of total revenues generated.

A recent success story from the Partner Program involves an electronic contract manufacturer who requested recycling services for roughly 8,000 pounds of plastic, metal and low-grade circuit board scrap valued at approximately $3,600. Included in the lot were 1,400 factory-new DVR remote controls. Dan-Mar's technical experts recommended selling these devices through the e-commerce retail store, resulting in a gross return of $25,200 in less than 150 days.

A second case study involves a company that was given a competitive bid of $7,500 for assorted plastic, metal and low-grade circuit board scrap. Upon inspection, Dan-Mar found hidden value in thousands of generic MINI PCI WLAN cards that had a retail value of $26 instead of their commodity value of $.50 per pound. To date, this lot has delivered a gross return of more than $40,000, nearly six times the competitive bidder's offering price.

In another example, our company strives to serve the needs of high-tech companies doing business under Mexico's PITEX and Maquila programs (temporary importation programs that allow goods to enter Mexico to be repaired, transformed or manufactured).

A specific percentage of the goods must be exported abroad, so Dan-Mar has invested in state-of-the-art facilities throughout Mexico that efficiently recycle many forms of post-industrial and post-consumer scrap, including e-scrap, plastics, metal, paper, cardboard and wood.

We bundle these and other services to ensure that the right method is used to process the right material, resulting in maximum return on investment (ROI) for our clients.

With the assistance of reputable asset recovery specialists, solid waste companies can focus on core competencies, while knowledgeable experts focus on achieving the highest ROI possible while limiting legal liability and regulatory compliance concerns.

The author is president of Dan-Mar Components, an asset recovery and component resale company based in Deer Park, N. K. He can be contacted via e-mail at dan@dan-mar. com.
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Author:Martin, Daniel
Publication:Recycling Today
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:Designs on the future: designing for recycling encourages manufacturers to plan for the end of their products' lives.
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