The company that’s making money while also helping to save the planet
- On April 19, 2020
- By Edward Robinson
Most households have an old mobile phone or two tucked away in a drawer. There are often DVDs gathering dust on shelves, as they stream movies straight to the TV now. And laptops and tablets can quickly become obsolete when the latest edition comes on the market. All this waste can mean more landfill and a strain on the environment. But two young entrepreneurs are taking the ecological challenge, while also seeing some hugely potential economical benefits. “We came across what we believed to be a real gap in the market a few years ago, for people being able easily to get value from their old electronics and save them going to landfill,” says Mr Seear. “Thats when we decided to develop recyclabox, which has now become the most convenient way to sell old electronics.” They started the business in 2014, while Mr Seear was still at Cardiff University, and the first recylaboxes were placed in a supermarket in south Wales. There are now 13 recyclaboxes in Sainsburys and Morrisons in the region. And the company has so far bought more than 15,000 products. The machines are the UKs first self-service kiosks for reselling electronics. Recyclabox allows users to drop off unwanted goods – such as phones, DVDs, CDs, and games – and within two days a payment goes straight into the sellers account. The business has relocated its base from Cardiff to London, but the operations centre has stayed, and will stay, in Newport. There are plans to increase the number of machines, but the operations base will kept in Newport and they will look to increase the number of staff in the city. Currently the company has two full-time employees in Newport and six in London. “We are looking at launching in loads of new Sainsbury’s and Morrison stores in the early new year,” says Mr Seear. “Putting the machines in another 50 different sites, so we will grow the operation side in Wales. “We are looking to go across the rest of south Wales, to Barry, up to Ebbw Vale and Bargoed, and across to Ross-on-Wye, and we are reaching out to the Bristol and Gloucestershire area.” The young duo have a vision to have recyclabox in every single supermarket and shopping centre in the country. “There is no reason why every person in the country shouldn’t be able to benefit from the service,” says Mr Seear. As they expand they will grow the operations site in Newport to examine each of the products the machines collect. All the products the company buys are either shipped to other markets to be sold on, reconditioned or reused for parts. No item received is thrown away, they say, and if they can’t reuse the item then it is stripped for parts that can be recycled. The environmental impact of the work is a big part of the company, but it is also about creating a service that is convenient and economically viable according to the two founders. They have financial backing for expansion, so they don’t anticipate having to make an appearance on Dragon’s Den for extra funding.
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