Good Point Recycling - 2010 Report

To our Clients, Investors, and Crew:

Good Point Recycling needs to be bragged about, from time to time.  I'm extremely proud of what our company has accomplished, and our role in moving the recycling industry forward.  This month is our tenth anniversary.

Good Point Recycling managed over 5 million pounds of used electronics last year, including material we bought from out of state recyclers (for inspection prior to re-export) and material we disassembled, with local labor, into screws, metals, parts and plastics.   Since we opened, we have managed 20 million pounds of scrap.  We have grown steadily - more than 25% of that material was managed in 2010!

Good Point Recycling has brought in $6,000,000 to Addison County, Vermont.  Almost all of this came from outside of Addison County, creating local jobs.  The 24% of material which we exported for reuse brought in enough money to cover our entire payroll.   The 76% we did NOT export speaks for itself.

How did our company build itself from scrap?
Good Point Recycling is not a "cherry picker".  From the beginning, Good Point has collected the most expensive and difficult to recycle materials, especially CRT televisions and monitors. While other companies focused on the "profitable"  cell phone, laptop, and off-lease computer markets, Good Point never turned down a call to collect wooden console TVs from Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Good Point Recycling is recognized as an employer willing to train and promote from within.  A local Department of Employment and Training counselor told us "your company sees people for what they can do, not just for what they cannot do.  That is rare."  We not only brought millions of dollars in payroll into Addison County since we opened, we brought them to people most in need of work.

Good Point Recycling embraces the best practices in the industry.  We were among the first companies to take a stand against "Toxics Along for the Ride", and to put our money where our mouth is - paying for domestic USA recycling of junk computer monitors, TV glass, etc.  We came up with CRT Glass Test, PCB Test, Employee per Ton and Sea Container Per Ton tests which led to the crackdown on the biggest sham recyclers in our industry.  We have hired a consultant to assist with the R2 Certification, and we have offered our expertise to E-Stewards should they actually wish to attempt preparing CRT monitors for re-manufacturing (unfortunately, they have adapted a reuse standard which no one attempts).   

Good Point Recycling is recognized as an expert in international relations, reuse, and "ewaste" policy.   The blog alone now brings 10,000 views per month.  We present at conferences, offer background expertise to journalists (including over an hour in interview for CBS 60 Minutes Wasteland - one reason I'm pretty mad at them for ignoring the monitor takeback factories).  Robin (me, the owner) has been a consultant to EPA, the Chinese EPA, National Recycling Coalition, and Original Equipment Manufacturers.

Recycling in Mexico
Good Point is at the forefront of recycling market development.  We negotiated with major Taiwanese and Korean CRT manufacturers to vastly increase use of CRT cullet at the Klang Malaysia CRT furnace in 2006 (one reason I'm upset at for writing to the Malaysian EPA to stop those recycled cullet imports - causing the factory to go back to MINED lead silicate to make their CRT tubes!  arrggghh!!).

Good Point Recycling is at the forefront of fair trade recycling programs.  We understand that overseas markets are subject to dumping and unfair trade, but we also recognize that BOYCOTTING those emerging markets is the worst thing Americans can do (they still need material, and import worse stuff).  We pioneered purchase orders which lower the costs to overseas factories in return for their investment in better labor and environmental standards.  We incorporated, an international business consortium, here in Middlebury, Vermont.

Good Point Recycling was one of the only companies to stand up for the Geeks of Color, or Techs of Color, when it became fashionable to denigrate them, label them "primitives", and claim credit for "best practices" as defined by shredding into little pieces.   While we export far less than the "80%" claimed by certain Watchdog groups, we stand up for the fine people who we do export to.  At Retroworks de Mexico, we have done more - flying women from Sonora to train in Vermont, and staff from Vermont to train in Mexico.  I am enormously proud of our relationship with the Geeks and Techies of Egypt, who were dealt enormous obstacles during the past two years, and whose reuse program created a network of millions, which will be remembered for decades.  We are enormously proud of the relationships we built with manufacturer takeback factories in Asia, which refurbished computers to new condition and continued to supply them to our partners in Cairo when the government accused them of importing "e-waste".  When others were afraid to export, we flew to meet and verify the buyers, we changed testing specifications constantly, and today the world is a better place.

Geeks of Egypt
Good Point has received many other recognitions and awards during the past few years.  We were selected as a finalist in the prestigious social-angel-capital competition, and initially awarded a grant by EPA Border Program (retracted, ugh).   We have been selected by several manufacturers to run a coupon program to demonstrate product stewardship in communities which provide free recycling to residents.   Public Speaking and Presentations... We present cutting edge data to Recycling Today, NERC, NRC, E-Scrap, Recycling Today, GEARI, PechaKucha, and dozens of university presentations.  Our "fair trade recycling" concept is getting out. Our company has been profiled by NPR Living on Earth, American Public Media's Marketplace, Associated Press, Sacramento Bee, PBS,  Time, etc.   Many journalists have now VISITED the partners in other countries, and seen for themselves our genuine message of partnership and responsible, ethical recycling.

At times I have been outspoken (some say more than I should be).  But as I see it, the decade of "e-waste" will be remembered and debated decades from now, and it is in all of our interests, as agents of conscience, to be honest with one another about what we are doing to the environment - through mining, through dumping, through obsolescence, through regulation, through reuse, recycling, and disposal.   Good Point Recycling may undergo major changes in 2011, and while we haven't been perfect, I have always tried to be transparent in our work.

More information on our 2010 audit, sales, downstream markets, and best practices is available to clients and investors.   Contact me if you would like to participate in making Fair Trade Recycling a reality.

It was ten years ago this month that I incorporated our company, and began permanent collections with friends like Laura Routh, John Malter, Nancy Plunkett, Sami Izzo, and Joyce Majors.  We have had ups and downs, leaps and bounds, but today our company relies on Vermont for less than 40% of the material we process.  In NY, MA, NH, RI, NJ and AZ, we are able to help people because of the foundation Vermont lent to us.  With your help, we have made Good Point Recycling a regional, national, and international player in the electronics recycling field.

We can provide more data on end markets, inputs, the jobs created, etc., for those who request it.  We did this without outside financing, without government grants, and have survived a major recession.  This company was built pretty much from scrap, and everyone in our company is incredibly grateful to those of you who made this possible, through your business, your patience, and your belief in what we try to accomplish.  Whatever the future brings, we will always remember the clients who saw Good Point Recycling for what it could do.

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