The Sage Sustainable Electronics facility in Reno, Nev. | Courtesy of Sage Sustainable Electronics

A circular economy-focused investment firm is putting more dollars into the electronics reuse and recycling industry, this time acquiring a majority stake in Sage Sustainable Electronics. 

Closed Loop Partners announced on Nov. 1 it had acquired a majority stake in Sage, a Columbus, Ohio-based processor focused on reusing electronics. The investment was made through Closed Loop Partners’ buyout private equity fund, called the Closed Loop Leadership Fund. 

“This marks a significant step towards advancing the circular economy within the ITAD industry,” said Sage CEO Bob Houghton, who co-founded Sage in 2014 alongside Jill Vaské, the president of Sage. “First of all, they truly share our commitment to sustainability and reuse. That, of course, is always first on our list. But secondly, this partnership enables us to further expand our reach and increase our impact.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Firm likes focus on reuse

The investment is just the latest in the electronics space for Closed Loop Partners, which also invests in companies involved in curbside recycling, packaging, clothing, food and more. 

Closed Loop Partners has invested in doorstep electronics collection company Retrievr and nationwide electronics recycling and reuse company ERI. More recently, it has invested in metals sorting technology company VALIS and electronics supply chain efficiency and transparency technology company Apkudo. It also invested in solar panel recycling company Solarcycle

Closed Loop Partners has also been involved in the development and rollout of an electronics recycled-content certification standard earlier this year. 

Closed Loop’s announcement emphasizes Sage’s focus on reusing electronics and the environmental benefits of that practice. The release notes that Sage refurbishes or recycles nearly 1 million devices each year, and in 2022 was able to send 58% of its incoming devices for reuse, mitigating roughly 300 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. 

“An overlooked source of climate risk is the emissions associated with creating a new product,” Jackson Pei, director at Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund, stated in the release. “Keeping used materials in circulation to reduce the need for new extraction and new product manufacturing is an important part of mitigating climate impact.” 

The announcement also notes that the investment will help fuel Sage’s growth. Over the last few years, Sage has dramatically increased the size of its Columbus operation and opened a processing facility in a former Arrow Electronics space in Reno, Nev. 

“With Closed Loop Partners as a majority shareholder, Sage will have access to additional resources, a deep ecosystem of companies advancing the circular economy, and expertise to further enhance its services and expand its reach,” according to the announcement. 

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