By Maddie Ferber

With four founders and a wealth of experience in the IT industry, RecycleMax is a brand new company seeking to reduce the environmental impact of tech through data security. ITAD (IT Asset Disposition – the process used to responsibly dispose of outdated equipment) is a relatively new industry, with the very first standards set by the DOD back in 2005. Although still under a year old, RecycleMax has big plans to become an industry leader, setting a standard not only for environmental responsibility, but also in establishing strong reputations for trustworthiness.

3 men smiling at camera

E-waste is a growing issue across industries, with many businesses cycling through equipment in as little as 3-5 years. Co-founder Jibran Khan asks, “What drives the end of life? It’s really businesses that have outgrown their current processes and the need for bigger and better, that is what drives the end of life.” The reality is that this equipment could still meet the needs of other businesses or consumers downstream, and most of it still has years of useful life left. When data security enters the picture, however, many businesses choose to destroy items regardless of life left in order to ensure their data remains secure. 

Khan and his fellow founders know the importance of proving the process to these businesses. Trustworthiness is key to convincing companies to preserve equipment for refurbishment, reuse, and recycling. Their process is two-fold – establishing a strong system within their own business to ensure all data that enters their facility is secure and maintaining a strong network of similarly certified and responsible refurbishers and recyclers. In their own facility, all devices containing data are tracked step by step, and multiple layers of security are enacted to limit access to sensitive information. Hard drives are secured in a locker before going through a multi-step data sanitizing process. Drives that have reached the end of their life and are ready for recycling go through a crusher, destroying any opportunity for data retrieval before being sent downstream to a recycler.

Locked black locker
Hand holding hard drive
Hand holding destroyed hard drive in front of bin full of drives

One of the big challenges RecycleMax has faced thus far was getting their R2 certification. Another important component of building a reputation for trustworthiness, achieving the certification is challenging, but vital. Along with their certification, and only working with other certified recyclers, RecycleMax hopes to adopt a system of auditing their downstream partners in the future, adding another layer of accountability to their network, and ensuring all the materials they work with are reserved for their best and highest use.  

As a relatively small team with big ambitions, they’ve seen their fair share of success as well. The biggest success? Repeat customers. Even as a brand new company, they’ve had major companies sign on – and come back for more. As they put it, they’ve planted a seed, and now they’re watching it grow.

Ipads stacked in rows on shelf
Apple hard drives stacked in rows

When asked what lessons they can share, they emphasized the importance of being explorers and trailblazers. ITAD is a relatively new industry, and the standards are still being developed and set. Much like the rest of the recycling industry, things are constantly changing. Staying educated, and educating our customers is a vital component of any recycling industry if we’re going to build a better future for all. 

Interested in learning more? Check out RecycleMax INC online.