This story has been corrected.
Sean Miles sees his marketplace platform as the glue between corporate customers and recyclers, a connection that could perhaps patch up a fragmented system.
“We are the first true marketplace for the industry that I’m aware of,” he told E-Scrap News. “There’s a lot of vendors and wholesale recyclers that built their own little portals for clientele, but we are completely neutral.”
Recycle Global Exchange (RGX) is an online platform that allows customers to submit project requests and then prompts e-scrap recyclers in the geographic area to submit competitive bids to take on the material.
Miles, CEO of RGX, said the mission is to decrease the transportation costs of processing electronics in both an economic and environmental sense; bolster smaller, local recyclers; increase diversity in the industry; and improve recycling rates.
“We enhance the solution rather than removing what you’ve got,” he said of the process.
He said so far, RGX has been able to find a certified recycler within 60 miles of most projects they’ve been given. Since larger companies sometimes ship their used electronics hundreds of miles to be processed, going next door reduces costs and emissions.
“It’s kind of winning all over,” Miles said. “You’re promoting local business, you’re reducing environmental impact and trucking emissions and you get a ROI cost savings on logistics alone, and then along with competitive bidding.”
He added that RGX plans to allow companies to filter recyclers by nonprofit status and whether they’re veteran-owned, minority-owned, women-owned, among other factors.
“The last thing on people’s mind is recycling,” he said, “but our goal is to make it relevant and easier.”
RGX does that by asking both customers and recyclers to sign up for free. Customers then spend five minutes filling out a request that includes the type and amount of material. Next, recyclers submit bids and the customer chooses one.
RGX then maps the location of the material and the recycler in order to calculate carbon emissions, and after the material is picked up and processed, the recycler uploads details like the value and certificates of destruction back into the RGX platform.
RGX handles the financial transaction and stores the records in a database so its customers can easily access them for audits. The company charges fees for facilitating deals based on services provided, with premium services negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
“We’re more than a broker,” Miles said. “We’re a managed marketplace. We’re helping you out.”
The company’s main targets are large companies and institutions with multiple locations and high volumes of electronics, but anyone can use the platform, he said.
“Our mantra is ‘do better’ because that doesn’t put a stake up where you have to perfect, just better than yesterday and to move the needle on how much is responsibly recycled,” Miles said.
‘The Yin and Yang’
RGX got its start with Miles and his longtime work colleague Paul Logsdon. After working together for nearly a decade, the two co-founded RGX knowing their backgrounds and strengths balanced one another. “He’s operations minded and I’m the sales guy,” said Miles, “so we’re the Yin and Yang.”
“I saw a niche in the industry where before I was working with large clients – they are still using manual, antiquated processes,” Miles added.
Supply chain logistics are bogged down, and procurement contracts take months, so he and Logsdon decided to automate and digitize it, working with an original team of five people.
“We’d never created software, but we learned and we brought some key experts in and bootstrapped the whole thing for two and a half years,” Miles said, then they started some pilot programs with larger clients to test it.
“Now we’re moving along and gaining traction,” he added. “Everyone we’ve talked to has been positive.”
In 2021, RGX partnered with Indiana-based DynamoEdge, a platform that monitors, predicts and prevents electronic failures. Recently, it was shortlisted for the World Sustainability Awards in the Sustainable Technology category.
Financially, Miles said RGX has already surpassed last year’s earnings and is doing a capital raise now that investors seem excited about it. Miles is also applying for grants.
Looking forward, Miles said he wants to keep growing the platform. A U.S. patent is pending for RGX. He said could see it being acquired by another company at some point, but for now, he’s focused on the mission.
“The goal is to increase customers and bring everyone into the ecosystem,” he said. “Just like you have Airbnb, VRBO or these marketplaces that connect the homeowner with the people who are looking to rent, people need to have a tool to go to. At RGX, our dream is to be that tool.”
This story has been corrected with information about RGX’s transaction fees.
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