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  • May 7, 2018   |   Lisa Johnston/ Twice Beyond Shredding
    Beyond Shredding
    How a ‘circular economy’ is already transforming consumer electronics


    Reduce, reuse, recycle: One company is providing a way for consumer electronics companies to plot a healthier path for device manufacturing, from early design to end of life and every step in between.

    Re-Teck, a subsidiary of Li Tong Group, engages and facilitates the post-consumer recycling and recovery of CE devices. It not only works with tech retailers to manage their upgrade and takeback programs, but also provides solutions for various stages of electronics lifecycles.

    TWICE recently spoke with Linda Li, Re-Teck chief strategy officer, to learn about the company’s processes, including some misconceptions about reverse supply-chain management.

    For one thing, the traditional approach to recycling devices — of just shredding everything to obtain a few commodities — is the very last thing that Re-Teck does, Li said. Instead, the companies’ engineers focus on trying to give components a second life.

    “If you’re just merely getting some gold or other type of precious metals out of electronic devices, it could only be a couple dollars’ worth, and the amount of carbon footprint that is gone forever once you shred is enormous,” said Li. “Whereas if you’re able to harvest and repurpose a display module, a memory chip or a camera and give it a second life so that it can be used in something else, the financial-value recovery is 10 times [greater], and the amount of carbon footprint savings and [reduced] environmental impact is much bigger.”

    The process is different for each OEM, she said. Some employ Re-Teck for what’s known as closed-loop recovery, in which components harvested from a consumer’s returned device are remanufactured, restored to original functionality, and then redeployed to the OEM’s original supply chain.

    Other companies choose closed-loop rebirth, in which key raw materials, such as cobalt from batteries, are harvested for use in future devices. Li noted that this process also enables more efficient device recycling.

    “The plastic [in CE devices] isn’t generic plastic,” she explained. It contains such elements as magnesium, and if these plastics end up in a generic plastic recycler, they’re unable to break down.

    Just as recently as five years ago, recovery or recycling remained an afterthought for most OEMs, she said. “They were rushing to get products out there and worrying about environmental response later.”

    And when that response did come, said Li, it was a traditional electronics-recycling method of collecting a lot of devices, allowing them to stay put, and then attempting to auction them to a scrap dealer. This method is problematic in that the value of the materials and components diminish during the holding period, and the materials end up becoming a liability to OEMs.

    Re-Teck’s services, whether through recycling or retail takeback programs, are instead promoted as the veins and arteries of consumer electronics: “Both have to flow continuously for a body to function healthfully instead of letting things accumulate.”

    Now, said Li, there’s very little convincing that needs to be done. “OEMs realize that having their own veins — their own solution — is a critical weapon for selling new products.” This is particularly the case for companies that launch a new flagship each year; not all consumers are motivated to upgrade annually, and so manufacturers are able to stage trade or takeback programs to not only minimize environmental impact but secure consumer loyalty as well.

    It also reduces that liability impact. “OEMs also realize that if [device recycling] is handled wrongly, the damage could be huge. If something ends in a landfill, or data is leaked because it’s sold on a gray market, it could potentially damage the brand.”

    More OEMs have enabled a commitment to this “circular economy,” said Li. While western retailers are already accustomed to shouldering some of the social and environmental burden of CE recycling, it’s just beginning to catch up in Asia, she said.

    Re-Teck now works closely with CE design engineers, consulting with the OEM during Re-Teck’s de-manufacturing process. As part of this, Re-Teck engineers painstakingly take apart CE devices and provide feedback on potential future recycling hindrances. For example, a device using very strong industrial adhesives in which everything is glued shut makes it impossible to take it apart, so it decreases the reusability of the key components, said Li.

    OLED is another example of a potential roadblock because of its fragility. “If something goes wrong, the whole module is going to waste,” she noted.

    To help with this, Re-Teck’s engineers designed their own proprietary tools and fixtures for taking OLED devices apart. This allows them to rework the display and give it a second life, eliminating the need to toss the entire panel in the recycling bin if it suffers a crack.

    It’s these small but monumentally impactful actions that Li said make her happy to get up for work in the morning. “Even if we change one very small thing, it has the potential to change for a million devices. It makes a real difference in the world. And it sounds very cliché, but it’s a fact.”

    Li, an engineer who said she’s always had a passion for technology, began her career working in supply-chain strategy. After moving to Hong Kong to manage the portfolio of a private-equity firm, she realized she “was on the wrong side.”

    “I was only worried about making money for the people who have a lot of money. I wasn’t making a difference,” she recounted.

    She met Re-Teck founder Tony Wang in 2010 and was intrigued and inspired by what he was doing in the field of device recycling. She joined the company, which was essentially operating as a 10-year-old start-up, to help Wang bring it to the next level.

    “Every entrepreneur goes through a bottleneck,” said Li, “and I saw this was a place I could become useful.”

    Re-Teck had just a few factories in China when Li joined eight years ago, and now it operates more than 20 facilities in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Its U.S. operations are headquartered in Redwood City, Calif.

    “Everything is wholly owned, which is very [intensive] because you have to do everything from scratch to ensure the quality and standards for environmental health, privacy and safety,” said Li.

    This is not to say that the growth has been (or remains) easy. Li spoke a bit ruefully as she described some of her responsibilities, including getting both operations and compliance employees on the same page during device development. Needless to say, it’s not always a simple task as both teams face their own heated priorities.

    As part of its growth path, Re-Teck has planned investments in the U.S. The company anticipates the “heart” of the supply chain (remember that veins/arteries metaphor) moving to these shores.

    This shift will have an exciting effect on retail, said Li, as it provides additional opportunities and solutions within the reserve supply-chain ecosystem.

    “We understand the U.S. is still more post-consumer retail driven when it comes to end-of-life products,” she said. “A big focus of our business in the U.S. is going to be the retail and e-commerce network.”
  • April 19, 2018   |   Insightaas Re-Teck Design-for-Recycle advisory facilitates wisdom in electronics design and manufacturing
    Re-Teck Design-for-Recycle advisory facilitates wisdom in electronics design and manufacturing
    Technology engineering is just now catching up with circular economic thinking so new devices from global brands are greener, leaner and more economic, compliant and efficient. Smartphones, tablets, displays and PCs are being conceptualized, designed, prototyped, built — even rebuilt — with recycling front of mind so valuable components and raw materials that would otherwise go to landfill are re-entering the supply chain in volume.

    Supporting this development is global reverse supply chain management firm, Re-Teck. The Redwood City, California firm services many of the major consumer electronics and technology brands providing a range of strategic services, including:
    • Design consultancy at the concept/manufacturing phase;
    • Take-back support at retail;
    • Disassembly and harvesting of components/materials in the post-consumer phase;
    • Privacy protection and data security on the devices;
    • Closed loop or remarketing of components/materials;
    • Compliance documentation and support.
    “The race for the latest and greatest technologies has left casualties along the way,” stated Edward Kayden, Senior. Director, Business Development, Re-Teck. “We’re enabling OEMs, telcos and retailers to operate in a more environmentally-friendly manner with a more economically viable, code-compliant model while extracting value from resources they’d otherwise pay fees for to send to landfill.”

    Re-Teck is an engineering organization at its core. With over 1,200 employees at 20+ facilities and administration centers, Re-Teck is staffed by senior engineers from the telecommunications, industrial and consumer electronics domains. Re-Teck engineers enable brands to design products that can later be disassembled and the components re-used in other devices; its reverse supply chain professionals will find new markets for the components and raw materials, and its legal and program management teams ensure the highest levels of compliance, data security and brand/process integrity.

    Engineering Plastics

    Carbon, magnesium and other additives make engineering plastics more robust, lighter and more useful in the manufacture of consumer electronics. These plastics are difficult to break down and so must be harvested by Re-Teck, then re-compounded and re-used by original suppliers (only a few of which exist in the world). Otherwise the additives make their way into the supply chain of plastics recyclers, which is not advisable.

    Lithium

    Lithium is a reactive and flammable alkali metal used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are widely used in consumer electronics devices and can be harvested and either re-purposed in closed loop applications for use in similar devices, re-marketed for re-use in other applications, or recycled and the raw material used in brand new applications/devices.

    Cobalt

    Cobalt is also widely used in lithium-ion batteries primarily in mobile phones, but increasingly in electric cars. As a consequence, the demand for and the price of cobalt has increased significantly in the past five years. Couple this with the significant humanitarian and political issues attached to mining cobalt and recycling cobalt is an ever-more-compelling proposition.

    “Optimizing the supply chain, managing the brand, sustaining innovation are critical strategic issues that business leaders must address,” Kayden continued. “Our global organization of engineering, supply chain and compliance professionals is uniquely equipped to support the world’s leading technology brands with the most comprehensive and highly-evolved solutions.”
  • March 22, 2018   |   Colin Staub/ E-Scrap News Platform uses one provider for all ITAM services
    Platform uses one provider for all ITAM services
    A global asset management company is rolling out a new consolidated end-of-life service platform for a major telecommunications company in Europe. Li Tong Group (LTG) intends to expand the service offering to U.S. clients in the future.

    LTG announced this month it is contracting with Veon, a telecommunications provider servicing a number of European and Asian markets. Under the agreement, LTG is providing recycling and refurbishment service, but it has also designed a customized platform to facilitate the transfer of end-of-life devices internationally between Veon’s locations.

    Linda Li, chief strategy officer of LTG, speaking at the E-Scrap Conference in 2017

    In an interview with E-Scrap News, Linda Li, chief strategy officer at LTG and its U.S. subsidiary Re-Teck, said the new model will increase efficiency.

    “We’re not just providing a basic type of recycling service. We’re actually managing the whole communication platform, the exchange, the transactions,” Li said. “And then we actually carry out the physical work of managing those hardware assets to turn them into a condition that can be reused again by another (operating company) within the same group, in order to maximize financial recovery [and] minimize costs.”

    Upgrading traditional model

    The genesis of the model came out of inefficiencies LTG noted within the traditional asset management model for companies with locations in different regions. Veon, operating in Italy, Russia and elsewhere, provides a good example.

    Hypothetically, a location under the company’s Italian arm could decommission networking equipment and dispose of it through a local recycling or refurbishment company. At the same time, an operating company under Veon’s Russian branch may be looking for networking equipment parts.

    “They’re in need of some of the spare parts that could have been harvested from what Italy just disposed of, but they had no access to it, and instead the Russian subsidiary had to go out and buy anew,” Li said. “It becomes very inefficient. … You do not get the economy of scale, or any of the benefit of being a group-level operator, because they’re all doing their own thing.”

    Veon’s subsidiaries are in diverse locations. One might be in an area moving from 4G to LTE internet service and is decommissioning 4G equipment, whereas another just moved onto 4G and will be using 4G-optimized equipment for several years. They, therefore, need the same equipment at different points in time.

    With LTG providing asset management for both, facilitating the transfer of those parts between Veon’s locations becomes easier. LTG created a platform it calls the Veon RSC (reverse supply chain) Marketplace. It’s a proprietary system, Li explained, and will allow a new level of communication between Veon subsidiaries.

    “It’s like closed-loop reuse and repurposing within the same [company ownership],” Li said. “They have their own ecosystem. It’s just so much more efficient and meaningful, and such an upgrade from the old model.”

    Veon is a provider of mobile devices, internet, broadband, cable TV and other network services. Its operating companies, or subsidiary brands, serve customers in Bangladesh, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine and more. LTG is managing equipment at LTG’s facilities in Austria, Hong Kong and Dubai. In terms of launching the new management platform, the processor is taking material from six of Veon’s operating companies from the get-go, and plans to scale up from there. The more Veon subsidiary locations that sign on, the better the system will work.

    “The benefits of this platform approach can only be derived if all of the [operating companies] are on board,” she said. For example, an operating company using a local refurbisher might be happy with that arrangement, but it would undermine the efficiencies the company wants to realize with the same asset manager across the board.

    Applicability elsewhere

    The service could be offered to a wider array of companies in the future.

    “We believe that it’s really going to hopefully change the way that people start thinking about things, especially the decision-makers who are managing the hardware life cycles within these big giant multi-region, multi-nation group-level operators,” Li said. “This is really a game changer for them.”

    The concept may have been more attractive in Europe initially due to the legislative framework in place across the continent, she added. As part of consolidating asset management activities, LTG handles all of the regulatory issues associated with shipping devices from one country to another.

    But the concept is still being pitched in the U.S., Li said, noting that LTG is talking with “a number of top U.S. operators.” The team that developed the system LTG is supplying for Veon is based at Re-Teck, Li said.

    “So we are definitely very well positioned in bringing this level of service to the U.S. market,” she said.
  • March 21, 2018   |   Scrap Magazine Companies Partner to Recycle Telecom Infrastructure
    Companies Partner to Recycle Telecom Infrastructure
    Reverse supply-chain management company Li Tong Group (Hong Kong) is working with telecommunications and Internet provider VEON (Amsterdam) to manage its decommissioned infrastructure assets.

    The goal is to reuse or repurpose as much of the material as possible to maximize VEON’s return on investment, while also creating a model for telecom companies to improve product life cycles, LTG says. The project includes a supply-chain-management online portal LTG created to help VEON manage its telecom assets across operational groups that serve more than 240 million customers, LTG says. Visit www.litong.com or veon.com.
  • March 14, 2018   |   DeAnne Toto/ Recycling Today Global Re-Teck Brazil receives R2 certification
    Re-Teck Brazil receives R2 certification
    The California-based subsidiary of Hong Kong-headquartered Li-Tong Group (LTG), Re-Teck, a global provider of reverse supply chain management (RSCM) solutions, has announced that Re-Teck Brazil, Sao Paulo, has been awarded the latest version of the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) certification, R2:2013.

    The R2 standard is designed to help ensure the quality, transparency and environmental and social responsibility of electronics recycling facilities around the world. More than 750 R2-certified facilities are operating in 30 countries, according to SERI, the housing body and American National Standards Institute- (ANSI-) accredited standards development organization for the R2 Standard.

    “Re-Teck adheres to the leading global standards and regulations as a commitment to being secure and sustainable,” says Linda Li, the company’s chief strategy officer. “The R2 certification reaffirms our shift toward a circular economy by allowing us to align with industry standards and focus heavily on the sustainable management and reuse of resources within our facilities.”

    By emphasizing resource management over resource recycling, the R2 Standard helps companies extend the life cycle and reduce the environmental impact of electronic devices, Re-Teck says, adding that reusing components is fundamental to a circular economy and provides not only environmental but also social benefits.

    Each year, Re-Teck is verified by auditors and certified by various international standards, including OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001, the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) and the e-Stewards standards. More information about the company’s certifications is available at http://re-teck.com/certifications.php.

    LTG is a global market leader in reverse supply chain management (RSCM) solutions for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), enterprises, government and consumers for the reuse, remanufacture and recovery of tech products and components, including mobile devices, smart devices, big-data network and telecom equipment.
  • January 18, 2018    |   Business Wire ERI Co-Founder Kevin Dillon and Li Tong Group Share the Stage for Panel on Data Security and Reverse Management Solutions at IERC 2018
    ERI Co-Founder Kevin Dillon and Li Tong Group Share the Stage for Panel on Data Security and Reverse Management Solutions at IERC 2018
    SALZBURG, Austria--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kevin Dillon, Co-Founder, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Sales Officer of ERI, the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste and the world's largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company, described the current state of electronics recycling and data destruction and how ERI has managed to continue its steady growth at the International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC) 2018 in Salzburg, Austria today.

    ERI's Kevin Dillon and Li Tong Group Share Stage for Panel on Recycling Industry at IERC 2018

    Dillon was invited by IERC organizers to deliver his talk, “A View From the USA,” in which he weighed in on the emergence of issues such as ITAD and OEM compliance and how they affect the US and global markets. Dillon’s talk was part of a panel titled “Impact of Data Security and Reverse Management Solutions,” for which he shared the stage with Linda Li of Hong Kong’s Li Tong Group. Li shared a talk titled "The Benefits of a Strong Reverse Supply Chain Management Solution.”

    The discussion was chaired by Stephane Burban of Glencore International AG, Switzerland.

    During the discussion, Dillon explained how issues such as manufacturer compliance and data destruction have become top of mind concerns for recycling customers and are now essential elements of the responsible electronic recycling process.

    “We’re grateful to have been asked by our friends at ICM to participate in this important conference and to take part in this vital discussion alongside Li Tong Group,” said Dillon. "It’s key that we as an industry focus on the various ways we can move forward as the manufacturing side continues to evolve. And each step of the way, we must never lose sight of the importance of environmental responsibility and the proper destruction of digital data.”

    Li Tong Group has been the subject of recent industry news, with Olympus Capital Asia pursuing a sale of its stake in the business, as noted in a recent LiveMint article: http://www.livemint.com/Companies/oPjuVmRyU8LGOJOqEfthyK/Apple-iPhone-recycler-is-said-to-attract-Bain-Silver-Lake.html

    The IERC 2018 is largely considered to be the recycling industry's most important global event, bringing together over 480 international experts (producers, recyclers, equipment manufacturers, recycling associations, refurbishers, standards bodies, NGOs, regulators and many more) from 42 countries. Each year at IERC, the industries leading experts are invited to discuss the latest recycling technologies, regulations, manufacturing processes and value of raw materials.
  • December 1, 2017   |   Bobby Elliott/ E-Scrap News Magazine The Evolution of ITAD
    The Evolution of ITAD


    In January of 2017, Cascade Asset Management released a report that underscored a seismic shift taking place in the e-scrap industry.

    The Madison, Wisc.-based firm noted that on the one hand volatility in the commodities market had been continuing to put a damper on traditional recycling operations across the country. High-profile closures, increased scrutiny on e-scrap export activities and CRT abandonments weren’t helping the industry’s image either.

    But on the other hand, the Cascade report pointed out that interest in services related to ITAD (IT asset disposition) was picking up steam. For example, the value of laptops, desktops and mobile phones refurbished and sold by the company in 2016 increased by 21 percent.

    For a company like Cascade, which was founded in 1999 and began focusing exclusively on ITAD in 2008, offering a breadth of reuse-related services acted as a buffer against movements in metals values and other global factors.

    “By focusing on the ITAD needs of businesses and institutions, we could enjoy a more diverse and sustainable revenue structure and build lasting, quality relationships with organizations by supporting their ongoing refresh and disposition projects,” Neil Peters-Michaud, Cascade’s CEO, told E-Scrap News.

    Cascade is not alone in eyeing those opportunities. Over the past several years, a number of large e-scrap players have expressed their intentions to focus less on traditional scrap recovery and more on refurbishment, remarketing and data security. And newer businesses have emerged to try to leverage skills in those areas.

    “It’s a permanent shift,” said Bill Baron, the owner of Peachtree Corners, Georgia-based ITAD Tech, which was founded in 2014. “Over time, commodities will go up and go down and it’s foolish to believe otherwise. Trying to build a sustainable business model based solely on commodities is buying into a boom or bust mentality. It’s simply shortsighted.”

    ‘We never were scrap-oriented’

    In exploring the development of ITAD and its growth potential, it can be helpful to have a clear view of what ITAD actually means.

    Many ITAD firms have generated profits by harvesting parts, such as computer memory, and leveraging those components as they repair and resell devices.

    The concept is defined in different ways by different people, but at its core, ITAD is a catchall term for a wide range of asset management services, including data destruction, repair and reuse, and parts harvesting.

    And the ITAD industry itself is not new. E-scrap companies of all sizes have been building services beyond commodities recovery into their strategies for decades. Of late, however, more firms are making it a point to downplay traditional scrapping.

    “We are not a recycling company,” said Linda Li, the chief strategy officer at Re-Teck, an ITAD firm with four locations in the U.S. Re-Teck was founded in 2015 as a subsidiary of the Li Tong Group, which owns 21 e-scrap facilities around the world.

    A similar sentiment was expressed by Lane Epperson, the president and CEO of Oklahoma City-based HiTech Assets, which was founded in 2002. “We never were scrap-oriented,” he said. “We came at it from a different direction.”

    Billy Johnson, the chief lobbyist of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, told E-Scrap News he sees the group’s e-scrap members increasingly marketing reuse and repair as their go-to business offering.

    “The world has changed for us … and our e-scrap members are reacting to that as quickly as they possibly can,” Johnson said.

    For many companies, ITAD is presented as just one segment of a larger suite of offerings.

    ERI, one of the largest e-scrap processors in the U.S., expects to handle more than 300 million pounds of electronics this year at its eight U.S. facilities (seven of those sites engage in processing, and one is a consolidation location). Kevin Dillon, the company’s chief marketing and sales officer, said the company has always incorporated repair and reuse, but he added there’s value in giving clients options on the disposition front.

    “We do what the customer wants,” Dillon said. “If the customer wants us to shred it, we shred it. If the customer wants us to refurbish it and reuse it, we do that.”

    Nevertheless, ITAD has become a focus for the firm. According to Dillon, “an aggressive marketing push” over the last five years has looked to frame ERI as a one-stop shop for electronics management, and a parts harvesting project with iFixit kicked off in 2015.

    He added that about half of the tonnages handled by the company this year will go toward repair, reuse and parts harvesting. And he said 70 percent of ERI’s revenue now derives from non-recycling activities.

    In fact, the company officially changed its name in 2016 from Electronic Recyclers International to ERI because “the R stands for both recycling and reuse,” Dillon noted.

    Changing model as markets move

    A handful of key factors have driven the industry at large to embrace repair and reuse. First and foremost is the ever-shifting commodities market.

    The Cascade report noted e-scrap commodity prices took a nosedive between 2011 and 2015. Gold prices dropped 36 percent in that span, copper prices dropped 69 percent and iron prices went down 71 percent. Some values have rebounded of late, but uncertainty lingers.

    That’s caused firms that previously focused on scrap commodities to explore alternative revenue sources, noted Mark Chados of e-scrap software company Makor Solutions.

    “The price drop in commodities is forcing a lot of recycling companies to rethink where they can get more value for the products they’re getting,” Chados said. According to Chados, Makor has some clients that were previously geared entirely toward scrap but now generate 90 percent of their business through ITAD services.

    As businesses have aimed to reduce reliance on commodities, they’ve also shifted strategies in terms of material procurement.

    Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS), the e-scrap wing of publicly traded Sims Metal Management, is one big name that’s recently pivoted away from traditional recycling. Citing issues with stipulations laid out in extended producer responsibility programs for electronics as well as struggles with low-value municipal material, SRS phased out its presence in Canada and closed processing sites in three U.S. states in 2014.

    The consolidation effort has helped the firm target higher-value devices and equip each of its remaining eight U.S. facilities with broader ITAD capabilities, according to the company.

    “You can’t trade volume for profitability, and I think a lot of companies will make that mistake, especially in the scrap business,” said Sean Magann, SRS’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Being from the scrap industry, I think maybe we fell victim to that. … And we didn’t want to make that trade-off anymore. We said, ‘Let’s be more judicious about what we buy.’”

    Another factor underpinning the broader move toward ITAD is the shear number of repair-ready devices available.

    With consumers showing an insatiable appetite for the latest technological innovations, the e-scrap industry is seeing more and more high-value devices streaming into their facilities, said Johnson of ISRI.

    Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are also increasingly looking to create a circular economy for their products, entering into revenue-sharing arrangements with ITAD firms that are able to repair and resell devices.


    The industry’s embrace of repair and refurbishment has included both long-standing e-scrap companies and newer firms that have a specific ITAD focus.

    Li at Re-Teck says her firm has partnered with many of the biggest names in the electronics industry, including Amazon, Google and Apple, to provide services such as repair and parts harvesting. Re-Teck, for instance, manages all devices sent through Amazon’s Recycling Portal, a tool that allows consumers to send in select used electronics free of charge.

    The company’s three locations in Texas and new site in California’s Silicon Valley can together handle up to 5 million devices per year.

    “There’s huge demand out there,” Li said.

    Profit potential

    Stakeholders say when ITAD strategies are implemented effectively, a boost to the bottom line naturally follows.

    “Companies are … making a quarter or a dollar by recycling a product, or they can make 100 bucks on that same product if it can be reused,” said ISRI’s Johnson.

    Sarah Cade and Mike Cheslock recently launched an ITAD consultancy called E-Reuse Services. In their view, “not every electronics recycler is a good candidate for adding reuse and/or repair,” but if the fit is right, the profit potential can be “substantial.”

    A big chunk of that revenue can come via data security. The long list of major corporate data breaches in recent years has grabbed the attention of decision-makers at companies of all sizes. ITAD firms that already target equipment from the enterprise arena have been quick to develop solutions when it comes to wiping drives and ensuring secure asset management.

    “Data destruction is a natural component of reuse operations, but by itself, it can prove to be its own profit center for organizations whose customers are concerned about data protection,” Cade and Cheslock wrote in an e-mail.

    ERI lists data destruction services prominently on its website, and it now offers customers a tool called MyTrackTech that lets them keep tabs on individual assets as the products move through the disposition process.

    Peters-Michaud at Cascade noted it can take years to build lasting and lucrative relationships with partners. Once the partnership is in place, however, ITAD firms can leverage that trust.

    “It’s been a slow and steady road working with businesses and institutions to make more thoughtful and effective decisions related to their ITAD strategy,” Peters-Michaud said. “Asset disposition is generally the last thing organizations think about when they also need to focus on the procurement and management of their IT infrastructure.”

    Of course, part of handling used devices in a secure manner is knowing where material is going after it leaves the processing plant.

    Dillon of ERI said “about 90 percent” of reusable devices and parts handled by the company are moved to entities in the U.S.

    Johnson of ISRI, meanwhile, said the marketplace for refurbished devices and working parts is fully globalized. “If I can take the screen off of my iPhone, someone in Japan might want it or someone in India might want it,” Johnson said.

    Li at Re-Teck said her company sends parts to repair shops and OEMs in North America, but she noted the market for refurbished, working devices is most robust overseas.

    “Secondhand products are a bit tricky,” Li added. “The demand for secondhand devices is not as strong in North America as it is in other parts of the world. … So in some cases, whole products could be exported.”

    Chados at Makor noted that domestic demand for refurbished products is generally tied to a product’s type, age and make. Older devices that have been used for more than three years “are ending up in developing nations,” he said.

    The future of the industry, the future of ITAD

    Not everyone believes recycling companies will remain committed to ITAD going forward. Epperson of HiTech Assets noted that if the commodity market rises significantly, small and midsized firms will jump ship fairly quickly.

    “It’s a very, very competitive market and always has been,” Epperson said of the ITAD space. “As scrap prices improve, I think folks will go back to what their comfort zone is.”

    Other companies have resisted the move toward ITAD altogether, instead remaining committed to recycling as a core and necessary business. It will always be true that a sizable segment of the stream will be made up of devices that are so old or broken they hold no refurbishment value.

    OEMs are increasingly entering into revenue-sharing agreements with ITAD companies that are able to repair and resell devices.

    NovoTec is a prominent Columbus, Ohio-based processor that has made a name for itself in handling CRT glass, a material ITAD-focused operations – and even traditional recycling operations – try to avoid due to its limited downstream markets.

    Tom Bolon, NovoTec’s president, said the firm regularly discusses the potential of adding an ITAD team, but thus far has remained committed to being an expert in recycling CRTs. NovoTec also plans to become a destination for flat panel TVs and displays as that profit-challenged stream begins to ramp up.

    “We started, and still are, an end-of-life recycler,” Bolon said. “One of the pillars we built NovoTec on was ‘Do one thing and do it right.’”

    Bolon noted that many of NovoTec’s upstream clients and partners are involved in refurbishment and parts harvesting, but almost all of them need recycling partners to handle the devices that can’t be repaired. “We’re the outlet for that,” Bolon said.

    Multiple executives in interviews reiterated the importance of recycling. Though Re-Teck’s Li puts an emphasis on ITAD, she did acknowledge recycling will always be a necessity to some degree as well. “Whatever cannot be reused or repurposed goes into the recycling stream,” Li said.

    Epperson at HiTech noted his firm still sends about 35 percent of devices toward downstream recycling.

    Dillon at ERI went further, saying that recycling is more critical than repair and reuse “because that’s where all the brand protection is for the customer.”

    Still, as companies look to keep profits healthy – and prepare for whatever market surprise comes next – ITAD seems set to remain a key part of the business equation.

    “Unless an organization’s scope is set and unchanging, the growth of the ITAD services space should only be a positive thing,” wrote Cade and Cheslock. “The demand for electronics reuse suggests that we are a long way from a market saturated with providers.”

    And with the North American device stream flush with valuable devices, ISRI’s Johnson predicted more companies would be rethinking their overall strategies.

    “The volume is staggering, but the financial value of it is mind-blowing,” Johnson said.
  • September 29, 2017   |   Global Trade Global Reverse Supply Chain Company Supports a Circular Economy
    Global Reverse Supply Chain Company Supports a Circular Economy
    Provides Technology and Engineering to Enable Companies to Shift Modelsnow. Here are some of the most compelling pieces of information we took away from those talks.

    Companies around the world are adopting sustainability initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint, shifting from a linear economy to a circular economy where resources, including components and materials, have extended lifecycles and can be re-used, re-manufactured, refurbished and recycled.

    Many of these companies have turned to Re-Teck USA to support the transition to a circular economy and consider the entire lifecycle of a product in order to minimize waste.

    Rethinking the way products are designed, manufactured, and re-used is important for extracting the most from devices and keeping valuable resources from landfills. Re-Teck provides the Reverse Supply Chain Management (RCSM) technology leadership and engineering expertise that enables companies to shift to a circular economic model.

    Zim piloted blockchain technology to process shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

    “With technology, lifecycle has become a plural world,” notes Linda Li, Chief Strategy Officer of Re-Teck. “There’s the initial lifecycle of a product, then there is the repurposed lifecycle once it has been recycled. We’re not a recycle or shredding company. We’re engineers with OEM and EMS backgrounds that can de-manufacture devices and repurpose most of the parts and components, as well as enabling closed-loop recovery of raw materials. A circular economy allows you to be in control of your products lifecycles and in control of your resources, ultimately putting you in charge of your own carbon footprint.”

    Re-Teck’s engineering teams consider the new product design, the secondary and alternative application of parts and components, as well as the strategic value of materials such as rare earth elements, and extracts the usable elements for closed-loop reuse within the original forward supply chain, or repurpose these assets with its global partners of exchange. It’s end-to-end RSCM platform, currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola, provides a simple solution to a complex issue by eliminating the logistical, compliance, and technological issues of technology take-back initiatives.

    Re-Teck is the North American subsidiary of Li Tong Group (LTG), a provider of Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) solutions for OEMs, enterprises, governments, and consumers. LTG has developed a global network of 21 wholly owned facilities across North America, APAC, EU and MEA, which currently serves more than 100 customers and employs more than 1,200 people worldwide.
  • September 28, 2017   |   E-scrap News What we learned in the E-Scrap 2017 sessions
    What we learned in the E-Scrap 2017 sessions


    Last Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of industry experts took to the stage in Orlando to discuss the trends and challenges shaping electronics recovery right now. Here are some of the most compelling pieces of information we took away from those talks.

    Flat-panel displays might not follow the CRT path. According to several experts involved in flat-panel display processing, collectors have already moved aggressively toward charging fees to accept LCD flat-panel displays, thus avoiding the financial straits seen several years ago when collection sites took in the heavy devices for free. Also, they noted there are 36 facilities currently processing cold-cathode fluorescent lamps in the U.S. “I don’t think we’ll ever see a problem with fluorescent lamp stockpiling, just because there is great infrastructure to process them currently,” said Doug Smith, Sony’s director of corporate environment, safety and health. “Really, it’s not that expensive.”

    We could use a clearer definition of ITAD. The conference’s opening plenary session featured leaders of processing companies that are bringing IT asset disposition into their offerings in different ways. The conversation got interesting when panelists were asked what percentage of their revenues come from ITAD applications. “We’re close to 50-50 ITAD vs. recycling,” said Sean Magann, vice president of sales and marketing at Sims Recycling Solutions. “But it depends on how you define the terms. When we shred something for customer, it’s a service. Is that ITAD or recycling? It’s a debate we even have internally.”

    Cascade Asset Management has quantified reuse and repair within the company’s own operations, finding that 30 to 35 percent of equipment that comes in is suitable for repair and reuse. CEO Neil Peters-Michaud said the company carefully monitors this statistic. “If we can just bump that up one or two percentage points, it has a tremendous impact on our bottom line financially,” Peters-Michaud said. “Turning something from recycling to reuse generates significantly more income, and we use that as an argument, as an opportunity for our customers to take a look at some items that they are choosing to destroy because of a perceived security risk, to see if we can work with them to resell it to generate more income for them and for us.”

    The idea of a single industry certification holds appeal. Panelists in a session on optimizing commodities recovery discussed the evolution of the e-Stewards, ISO and R2 certifications. They laid out possibilities such as better communicating the value of certification to companies’ clients, differentiating between industry sectors – like processors and refurbishers – in certification, and even merging to form a single certification standard. “I’m hoping that the large organizations can come together for the betterment of the entire e-waste recycling industry, and agree on a quality, global or at least national certification that we can all understand,” said Kevin Dillon, co-founder, chief marketing officer and chief sales officer for ERI.

    Opportunity is arising in the sharing economy. In the conference’s closing session, which focused on how e-scrap fits into larger circular economy efforts, Linda Li, executive director and chief strategy officer at Li Tong Group, said that around the world consumers are increasingly adopting an “asset-free” lifestyle in which they lease products instead of owning them outright. She gave the example of Chinese website jd.com, which enables users to rent electronic devices and is growing in popularity. The trend could be a boon for the refurb sector because such systems have clear take-back mechanisms already in place.

    Desktops and laptops aren’t disappearing. As the electronics stream becomes more oriented toward mobile, there’s been plenty of predictions that more traditional (and higher value) computer models will get completely phased out. But Chris Ko , co-founder of ER2, said that’s not exactly realistic. “Despite how rapidly tech changes, you never get beyond the human factor,” he said. “We all have hands and eyes. People said iPads would eliminate laptops, but it became clear we can’t write a long email on a tablet as well as on laptop. For us, it’s not necessarily about what is the latest and greatest but what is coming down the line that will be a consistent market.”
  • September 11, 2017   |   Amy Wunderlin / SDC Executive Navigating Reverse Logistics in an E-commerce World
    Navigating Reverse Logistics in an E-commerce World


    Most think of the supply chain as a forward-moving process with one end goal—getting product into the customer’s hands. But the growth of e-commerce and greater consumer awareness has created new challenges not only in moving a product forward but also backward. The days of a linear supply chain have long passed, making way for a circular economy, where your supply chain’s reverse logistics are just as important as its forward motion.

    According to the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA), the term “reverse logistics” refers to all activity associated with a product or service after the point of sale, with the ultimate goal to optimize (or make more efficient) aftermarket activity, thus saving money and environmental resources.

    “If you build and design products for cradle to grave operation, they’re build in a factory, shipped, sold and eventually, when they stop being useful, end up in a trash heap,” explains Tony Sciarrotta, executive director, RLA. “You can look at that process in many ways. While it's not environmentally sound, it's also a bad business decision. If you can recover assets from the product at the end of its life, by reusing, rebuilding or refurbishing it— anything that you can do to bring that product back to life—is not only avoiding landfills but also protecting assets and resources. We used to call it sustainability, but it’s become more than that.”

    In today’s supply chain, when a product reaches end of life, the question has become: What else can you do with it? What can you do with this product instead of disposing it?

    Sciarrotta says there a number of answers to that question.

    “There is no one silver bullet in this gun. There's a lot of them, again, depending on the product category,” he says.

    Walmart, he explains, is a great example of a circular supply chain. The retailer partners with certain third-party solutions providers, who say, "I'll go to your warehouse, I'll touch this stuff, I'll sell it right from your warehouse, and we'll sell it right to an end consumer."

    Some manufacturers, such as Nike or Peppermill, however, prefer to take product back, and then sell it themselves to secondary outlet stores like Big Lots or Bargain Outlets.

    Sciarrotta adds that currently there is a lot of creativity in the reverse logistics space “in the sense of using Craigslist, using eBay, using Amazon Warehouse for open box goods.”

    Linda Li, chief strategy officer at Re-Teck, which provides reverse supply chain management (RSCM) solutions for OEM and enterprise businesses in the technology, electronics and telecom (TET) sectors, notes that there is another side of reverse logistics, or reverse supply chain, beyond the more commonly understood retail space.

    The second categorization, post-industrial recovery, pertains to supply chain assets that could be spare parts, situated anywhere along the supply chain network, such as a retail center, a distribution center, or even in the factory, but not yet in the consumer’s hands.

    “The post-industrial side is actually quite substantial as you can imagine,” Li explains. Part of what Re-Teck does is make sure that these assets are being handled properly, whether they can be repurposed or recycled in an environmental and socially responsible way.”

    Financial Motivation

    Whether your reverse supply chain is in the post-retail or post-industrial market, what to do with a return ultimately comes down to the bottom line.

    “You have to make these decisions of what to do with the item, based on the financial aspect,” emphasizes Sciarrotta. For example, as a manufacturer, if it's a $50 pair of shoes being returned, is it worth it to pay for the shipping all the way back to you?

    “That's a financial decision, and the best companies are using good financial analyses to figure out what the disposition should be,” Sciarrotta adds.

    Once a financial decision is made, the disposition must be executed—whether the product is repacked and sold to a wholesaler, refurbished and sold online or sent to a liquidator and auctioned off to the highest bidder.

    “It's an amazing ecosystem of people who touch the returns, who ship the returns, who touch them again and refurbish them,” adds Sciarrotta. “I'm proud to say that (the RLA) estimates that 95 percent of the returned goods go back into the marketplace somehow.”

    Re-Teck provides leading technology brands, such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola, a simple solution to the complex issue by dismantling obsolete technologies and re-purposing valuable components into new devices.

    Re-Teck’s engineering teams consider the aftermarket value for devices; the primary market value for component parts such as screens, switches and chips, as well as the recycling value of metals; and extract the usable elements for re-sale to Re-Teck’s global partner network. Remaining non-usable parts are disposed of via highly regulated, compliant systems.

    “At Re-Teck we take the hard work out of doing the right thing,” says Li. “Our programs have been proven by the most demanding brands at the highest levels and have allowed our partners to deepen their customer relationships, strengthen their organizational/culture initiatives, maintain the highest levels of compliance and even return a profit. It’s a win-win for the brand, the customer and the environment.”

    Another player in the reverse logistics space is B-Stock, an online marketplace that offers liquidation auctions of excess inventory, customer returns and overstock inventory directly from major retailers and manufacturers. B-Stock plays a small role in the reverse supply chain for products that cannot re-enter the forward supply chain.

    “In many cases, when products move backwards through the supply chain, they end up in a place where they can't be re-entered into the forward supply chain and pushed back out to consumers again. Rather, they’re liquidated to the secondary market,” explains Howard Rosenberg, chief executive officer at B-Stock.

    “We help (retailers and manufacturers) maximize the value of their inventory by selling it for them in a more efficient way than traditional liquidation … by building and managing online private auction marketplaces for these companies,” he adds. “These are online environments or websites, where each of our major enterprise clients can sell pallet loads and truck loads of excess inventory to small business buyers.”

    Traditional liquidation, Rosenberg says, can be inefficient. “If you talk to most retailers and ask them how they do it, the answer is something like, ‘Oh, I've got a couple of guys I sell to.’ And it’s all handled rather informally or inefficiently. Thus, we bring an efficient process that maximizes the value of all these products. So again, it’s squeezing margin out of this piece of the pie for the retailers, so that they can invest that back in their business.”

    Implementation

    Reverse logistics is a necessary part of the supply chain, but where it fits within an organization is a big question mark for many companies.

    Sciarrotta explains he essentially created the reverse logistics department at Phillips after working in sales and marketing for 10 years.

    “While I was in that role, I went from sales to operations to supply chain to service, probably twice. And some companies put (reverse logistics) in finance,” he says, adding, ultimately, no matter where a company places the department, it is just important that it has one.

    “How many companies have a manager of reverse logistics, much less a director of reverse logistics? And it is rare to find a vice president. But many companies are starting to recognize that importance. So, it isn’t a question of where does reverse logistics belong in an organization, but that reverse logistics should be a group within every product organization out there.”

    According to Li, a lot of manual analysis is required to manage a reverse supply chain, so creating an in-house department tasked with handling returns is not always the most cost-efficient method.

    “(Re-Teck) exists because it is not economically efficient for (a company) to run a reverse logistics operation by themselves,” she says. “Having a reliable partner that can manage the reverse side for you is probably the best way to do it.”

    She also adds that in the United States, depending on which state you're operating in and what products you’re making, companies are required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to meet certain take back or collection quotas.

    Every state does it differently; some will charge a fee, and say, “Okay you pay X amount of dollars for X amount of product,” with the state fulfilling the recycling or collection quota for the company.

    In other states, companies have to fulfill the recycling quote themselves, requiring a partner to complete it and attribute the collection credits.

    “Usually for compliance purposes, electronic manufacturers need to have a reverse logistics plan as a part of the overall supply chain management process,” Li says.

    E-commerce Impacts

    The return rate at a brick and mortar store is about 8 to 9 percent, so in a $5 trillion retail economy, that is about $400 to $450 billion in returns. At the e-commerce level, return rates are three to four times that rate. The why’s and how’s of this phenomenon are many and brewing into what Sciarrotta fears is the perfect storm.

    “Zappos (an online shoe retailer) has the most liberal policy in the world. They tell you to buy 10 pair of shoes, keep the ones you like, and send the other nine back. That's one aspect of it,” explains Sciarrotta.

    Another aspect, he says, is when you buy something online, you don't know if it’s what you want until you have it in your hands. “There’s that buyer’s remorse issue. There’s the misrepresentation of the product. That happens in the store, but it also happens online. However, over promising and over marketing is only part one of the story.”

    Part two, Sciarrotta continues, is caused by the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT).

    “Companies want to know your deepest and darkest desires, and they're using the Internet of Things to do it—by putting wireless connectivity into shoes, into some of the food you buy, into every appliance in your home. It’s easy,” Sciarrotta says. “But the other side of that, is the IoT has no global standard per se. And by that, I mean products don't talk to each other very well. They don't play nice with each other.”

    For example, several years ago Nike released a pair of shoes with IoT built- in to track a user’s steps, keep track of their calories burned and the like. The shoe technology was paired to a specific smart watch that was often inaccurate in its user data. But because the shoes and watch didn’t sync well, the data was inaccurate, and the software was spotty and not user friendly. As a result, most of the shoes were returned.

    “The growth is in e-commerce. The trend line is straight up—15 to 20 percent a year. So, as the trend increases and the e-commerce world and the IoT is making it more difficult for things to work with each other, you're going to have a tipping point where we're going to have a significant number of returns,” he adds.

    And though that tipping point is a bone of contention for retailers, e-commerce has affected reverse supply chain service providers, such as B-Stock and Re-Teck, in a much more positive way. Those Nike shoes or that two-year-old iPhone being traded in must go somewhere, and often it is not traveling forward.

    “What drives our business is the volume of product that needs to be liquidated,” says Rosenberger. “One of the drivers of that is the volume of returns that are experienced—items coming back from consumers to retailers. That leads to more liquidation requirements, which means it becomes that much more important for retailers to squeeze every dollar by doing it as efficiently as possible.”

    Li adds: “Given how competitive e-commerce has made the consumer, having a very efficient reverse logistics or post-consumer take back platform or channel is becoming a strategic and important tool in selling new products.”
  • September 5, 2017   |   E-Scrap News Meet the Speakers: Linda Li, Re-Teck
    Meet the Speakers: Linda Li, Re-Teck
    E-Scrap 2017 kicks off in Orlando in less than two weeks, and we’re highlighting a few of the experts who will take the stage to share their insights.

    Linda Li

    This week, we talk with Linda Li, chief strategy officer at reverse supply chain management firm Re-Teck, to learn her thoughts on planning for and embracing industry changes, and what a circular model for the electronics market means for reuse versus recycling. She’ll be speaking in the conference’s closing circular economy-focused session on Wednesday, September 20.

    What are some major themes you plan to touch on in your presentation?
    The presentation will speak to the emergence of the circular economy and how macroeconomics, technology, business, environment and society all influence the circular economy. We will look at benefits and potential drawbacks of the circular economy, steps towards implementing circular economic theory, case studies of circular economies and how the circular economy is likely to change in years to come.

    What do circular economy principles mean for device reuse versus recycling?
    Circular economy principles reconcile reuse and recycling. There is no conflict or compromise. Instead, reuse and recycling are applied strategically on multiple occasions at different points in the process and in different applications, depending on the circumstances. Circular economic theory requires the will to reuse and recycle and also intelligent balancing of reuse and recycling as needs dictate.

    What lessons has Re-Teck learned that others in the industry should be aware of as well?
    Change is inevitable and necessary. At Re-Teck, we have disrupted our own business model, and as an industry we need to plan for massive change in how technology is conceived, designed, built, deployed, purchased, used and reused. Embracing change is the first step; planning for change is the necessary second step. And then, executing for change is obviously critical. A big part of that is acquiring new knowledge and ideas from other disciplines – which is what we’re doing with the circular economy – and applying them in our industry.

    What are some key points you hope attendees will take away from your presentation?
    Change is good is for business, technology, society and the environment. Change is possible. It does not need to be scary. Applying new ideas (the circular economy) and taking small steps can have a hugely positive commercial, societal and economic impact.

    Li will be joined by Wayne Rifer of the National Center for Electronics Recycling and David Refkin of GreenPath Sustainability Consultants in a plenary session titled “E-Scrap Opportunities in the Circular Economy,” which will be held Wednesday, Sept. 20. It will be moderated by Carole Mars of The Sustainability Consortium.

    E-Scrap 2017 is set for Sept. 18-20 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Orlando, Florida. Last year’s conference welcomed more than 1,250 attendees from 48 states, seven Canadian provinces and 38 countries, and the trade show featured 130 exhibitors.
  • August 17, 2017   |   Digital Journal Re-Teck Chief Strategy Officer, Linda Li, to Deliver Presentation on the Circular Economy at E-Scrap Conference 2017
    Re-Teck Chief Strategy Officer, Linda Li, to Deliver Presentation on the Circular Economy at E-Scrap Conference 2017
    SAN FRANCISCO--(Business Wire)--In a presentation that will mark the evolution in the sophistication and importance of the e-scrap ecosystem as it pertains to the circular economy, Re-Teck Chief Strategy Officer, Linda Li will be speaking at the E-Scrap Conference 2017 on September 20, 2017 in Orlando. Re-Teck is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Li Tong Group (LTG).

    This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170817005261/en/

    Linda Li, Re-Teck Chief Strategy Officer (Photo: Business Wire)

    According to Li, the Circular Economy promises societal, environmental, economic and commercial gains. It is a logical, long-term strategy that few would argue with but that few have implemented successfully. Li will explore our global reticence to doing what’s right for our planet, smart for our businesses and fair for our societies and economies.

    “It’s time to not simply ask the difficult questions but also to answer them in a comprehensive and actionable way,” Li notes. “I look forward to presenting and I hope that it serves as a platform for dialog within the industry and provides a model for successful commercial implementation of circular economy thinking for the future of e-scrap and the broader technology industry.”

    Li holds a Master of Engineering degree in Supply Chain Management from MIT/ZLOG. In her presentation, she will examine the deployment and application of technology products through manufacture, distribution, use, disposal and recycling. Her presentation will also look at the ideas and disciplines of remanufacturing, redistribution and product life extension.

    Li argues that we have now finally reached an inflection point where the short-term gains are apparent to and attainable by each constituent group including technology brands, consumers, businesses and members of the global recycling and supply chain communities.

    The opportunity is now. The urgency is now. Linda Li’s presentation will provide insights and instruction as to how industry should act, how it can gain and how in doing so it will provide lasting value to the world.

    For more information on Re-Teck reverse supply chain management services, please visit: www.re-teck.com
  • August 14, 2017   |   Chrissie Cluney / IoT Evolution Re-Teck Offers Sustainability with Cradle-to-Cradle Business Model
    Re-Teck Offers Sustainability with Cradle-to-Cradle Business Model
    Reducing your company’s e-waste is good strategy, not just because of the halo effect, but because it also enables sustainable efficiencies that help you to offer your clients the best you can offer.

    Re-Teck provides the Reverse Supply Chain Management (RCSM) technology leadership and engineering expertise. This enables the technology community to capitalize on Cradle-to-Cradle manufacturing and support economic development and environmental sustainability. The company understands that environmental sustainability initiatives are becoming a critical necessity for progressive companies around the world. To reduce e-waste, companies must design products with a Cradle-to-Cradle approach, taking into consideration the entire product lifecycle.

    Re-Teck knows that rethinking the way products are designed, manufactured, sold, and repurposed is important for extracting the most from technology and keeping valuable resources from landfills.

    “At Re-Teck, we understand the importance of technology developed for closed-loop systems,” said Linda Li, chief strategy officer, Re-Teck. “As companies begin to rethink design and begin integrating repurposed or re-usable components, not only is it good for the environment, but it can drive economic growth by demonstrating their commitment to long-term sustainability efforts. With Cradle-to-Cradle manufacturing in mind, companies can develop products that can be fully recycled into materials they can use for products in the future.”

    The company has experienced engineering teams who consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts and extracts the usable elements for repurposing to Re-Teck’s global partner exchange. They offer an end-to-end RSCM platform. It is currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola. The Cradle-to-Cradle business model for Re-Teck provides a simple solution to a complex issue by eliminating the logistical, compliance, and technological issues of technology take-back initiatives.

    Re-Teck is the North American subsidiary of Li Tong Group (LTG). The group provides Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) solutions for OEMs, enterprises, government, and consumers for the reuse, remanufacture and recovery (3R) of both Post-Industrial Recovery (PIR) and Post-Consumer Recycling (PCR) and hi-tech products and components including mobile devices, smart devices, big-data network and telecom equipment.
  • August 9, 2017   |   Chrissie Cluney / IoT Evolution Re-Teck Redefines Sustainability with Unique Cradle-to-Cradle Business Model
    Re-Teck Redefines Sustainability with Unique Cradle-to-Cradle Business Model
    Is your company searching for assistance in reducing its e-waste, allowing the sustainability to offer your clients the best it has to offer?

    Re-Teck provides the Reverse Supply Chain Management (RCSM) technology leadership and engineering expertise. This enables the technology community to capitalize on Cradle-to-Cradle manufacturing and support economic development and environmental sustainability. The company understands that environmental sustainability initiatives are becoming a critical necessity for progressive companies around the world. To reduce e-waste, companies must design products with a Cradle-to-Cradle approach, taking into consideration the entire product lifecycle.

    Re-Teck knows that rethinking the way products are designed, manufactured, sold, and repurposed is important for extracting the most from technology and keeping valuable resources from landfills.

    “At Re-Teck, we understand the importance of technology developed for closed-loop systems,” said Linda Li, chief strategy officer, Re-Teck. “As companies begin to rethink design and begin integrating repurposed or re-usable components, not only is it good for the environment, but it can drive economic growth by demonstrating their commitment to long-term sustainability efforts. With Cradle-to-Cradle manufacturing in mind, companies can develop products that can be fully recycled into materials they can use for products in the future.”

    The company has experienced engineering teams who consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts and extracts the usable elements for repurposing to Re-Teck’s global partner exchange. They offer an end-to-end RSCM platform. It is currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola. The Cradle-to-Cradle business model for Re-Teck provides a simple solution to a complex issue by eliminating the logistical, compliance, and technological issues of technology take-back initiatives.

    Re-Teck is the North American subsidiary of Li Tong Group (LTG). The group is the global market leader in Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) solutions for OEMs, enterprises, government, and consumers for the reuse, remanufacture and recovery (3R) of both Post-Industrial Recovery (PIR) and Post-Consumer Recycling (PCR) and hi-tech products and components including mobile devices, smart devices, big-data network and telecom equipment.

    Re-Teck is eager to assist your company or organization to reduce the e-waste that may have accumulated.
  • July 14, 2017   |   Sustainable Brands Re-Teck Harnesses C2C Business Model to Revolutionize Tech, Slash E-Waste
    Re-Teck Harnesses C2C Business Model to Revolutionize Tech, Slash E-Waste



    As circular business models begin to gain steam, a new strategic service is helping companies in the technology, electronics and telecom sectors uncover new ways to reuse, remanufacture and recover technological devices, while simultaneously turning costs into profits.

    Dallas and San Francisco-based Re-Teck provides companies with Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) technology and engineering expertise to rethink the way products are designed, manufactured, sold and repurposed in an effort to curb e-waste and keep valuable resources out of landfills.

    Its end-to-end RSCM platform is currently used by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, Amazon and Motorola, and provides a simple solution to a complex issue by eliminating the logistical, compliance and technological issues commonly associated with technology take-back initiatives.

    “Recycling is a dirty word at Re-Teck,” said Linda Li, Chief Strategy Officer at Re-Teck. “This is because it used to simply mean shredding the devices; reusing a limited volume of the raw materials and sending more materials to landfill.”

    “At Re-Teck, we understand the potential of technology to be profitably disassembled with components being repurposed and reused while addressing regulations and better protecting the planet. The commoditization of recycling has stopped at many of the most progressive technology brands and they’re now counting on Re-Teck as a strategic partner to help them navigate the new world order.”

    Re-Teck’s engineering expertise is what truly sets the company apart: engineering teams consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts such as screens, switches and chips, in addition to the recycling value of metals, and extract the usable elements for repurposing and resale to Re-Teck’s global partner exchange.

    “Our partners — the leading technology brands on the planet — win by providing their customers with a brand experience that extends beyond hardware, UX and support, but also extends to what happens once the product needs to be replaced and recycled,” added Li.

    “Our programs provide confidence to the brands and the consumer that the product will be taken care of in the most responsible way possible and that valuable components will not simply be destroyed or sent to landfill but reused in a progressive and intelligent way.”

    Re-Teck’s Hong Kong-based parent company Li Tong Group (LTG) has been working for the last 15 years to position the issue of hardware lifecycle management as an opportunity for technology companies to drive innovation and generate new revenue streams. The expansion of Re-Teck, which will include the opening of a new headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., an expansion of its existing RSCM facility and the opening of a new RSCM facility in Milipitas, Calif., is the next logical step for LTG as it sets its sights on revolutionizing how we approach the mounting problem of e-waste.
  • June 29, 2017   |   The Wire The Last Mobile Phone Sold
    The Last Mobile Phone Sold
    SAN FRANCISCO – The average lifecycle of a mobile phone is 18 months before it is replaced by a better device with better capabilities. Even though these devices are still functional for much longer, the tech industry is constantly evolving, causing these devices to become outdated at a faster rate and eventually become obsolete.

    As mobile phones continue to be the on-ramp for consumer and commercial services, the idea of owning a simple mobile phone is becoming as extinct as the rotary dial. The business model of coupling the device, the plan, the content programming and services is leading to a radical re-think of how mobile devices are designed, manufactured, sold and re-used.

    This re-think is occurring in the context of the circular economy. New IoT, AI, Machine Learning, AR and VR technologies connect devices, buildings, vehicles, data and populations and present massive opportunities for new transformative services and economies. At the same time, the world has come to the realization that resources are limited and expensive and that technologies can be responsibly and profitably manufactured on a local basis.

    Re-Teck provides the Reverse Supply Chain Management (RCSM) technology leadership and engineering expertise that enables the technology community to capitalize on these movements, facilitate new service businesses and support agile entrepreneurship, economic development and environmental health. Re-Teck’s engineering teams consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts — screens, switches, and chips as well as the recycling value of metals —and extract the usable elements for re-sale to Re-Teck’s global partner exchange.

    “The mobile world order is facing some of the biggest changes and greatest opportunities in its existence,” noted Linda Li, Chief Strategy Officer, Re-Teck. “Movements such as IoT, Machine Learning, AR and VR are heavily dependent on an installed base of high-performing, highly-connected systems that connect populations, inform decisions and facilitate new businesses from the likes of Snap, Uber, Lyft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and thousands of start-ups around the globe.”

    “Mobile devices play a central role in making these connections and facilitating change but the technology, how it’s manufactured, bought, sold and supported is also facing significant disruption,” Li continued. Re-Teck’s end-to-end RSCM platform, currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola, eliminates the logistical, compliance, and technological issues of technology take-back initiatives, providing clients with a simple solution to a complex issue.

    For more information on Re-Teck reverse supply chain management services, please visit: www.re-teck.com
  • June 22, 2017   |   EBN Re-Teck Opens Bay-Area HQ to Support Elevated Strategic Role of Reverse Supply Chain Management
    Re-Teck Opens Bay-Area HQ to Support Elevated Strategic Role of Reverse Supply Chain Management
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA– – In a move to support the growing number of senior technology executives seeking to better execute a North America-based Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) strategy, Re-Teck announced the opening of its new headquarters in Redwood City, California. The move comes ahead of an expansion of the company's Dallas-area RSCM facility, and the September opening of an RSCM facility in Milipitas, California. The Redwood City headquarters will house program management, engineering, R&D, business development and support staff.

    Re-Teck provides clients with a simple solution to a complex issue. Its end-to-end RSCM platform, currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola, eliminates the logistical, compliance and technological issues of technology take-back initiatives. Re-Teck’s engineering teams consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts — screens, switches, and chips as well as the recycling value of metals —and extract the usable elements for re-sale to Re-Teck’s global partner exchange. This RSCM process has been pioneered by Re-Teck and its parent company Li Tong Group (LTG) of Hong Kong.

    “Recycling is a dirty word at Re-Teck,” said Linda Li, Chief Strategy Officer, Re-Teck. “This is because it used to simply mean shredding the devices; re-using a limited volume of the raw materials, and sending more materials to landfill. At Re-Teck, we understand the potential of technology to be profitably disassembled with components being repurposed and re-used, while addressing regulations and better protecting the planet. The commoditization of recycling has stopped at many of the most progressive technology brands, and they’re now counting on Re-Teck as a strategic partner to help them navigate the new world order.”

    For more information on Re-Teck reverse supply chain management services, please visit: www.re-teck.com
  • June 7, 2017   |   InsightaaS Post-Paris: As American industry assumes climate leadership from Washington, reverse supply chain becomes fundamental
    Post-Paris: As American industry assumes climate leadership from Washington, reverse supply chain becomes fundamental
    SAN FRANCISCO, California June 5th, 2017 – With the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on June 1, 2017, US states, cities and businesses have reaffirmed their intent to abide by the principles and targets of the agreement. In doing so, these entities are elevating Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) — the process of managing end of life hardware to extract working components for re-use in other devices — as an important way to extract the very most from technology and keep the most from landfills.

    “For every action — mining metals, extruding plastics, making chipsets and batteries — there is an unavoidable, inarguable impact,” stated Linda Li, Chief Strategy Officer, Re-Teck. “Reverse Supply Chain Management minimizes the impact by re-using the component parts and the materials industry has already built, mined, and manufactured. It is a critical next step in the evolution of responsible business and is at a scale and sophistication where it makes no sense not to do it!”

    Re-Teck’s end-to-end RSCM platform, currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola, eliminates the logistical, compliance and technological issues of deploying technology take-back initiatives. Re-Teck’s engineering teams consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts such as screens, switches, and chips, as well as the recycling value of metals, and extract the usable elements for re-sale to Re-Teck’s global partner exchange. This RSCM process has been pioneered by Re-Teck and its parent company Li Tong Group (LTG) of Hong Kong.

    “With RSCM the screen of 7 inch tablet will become the interface of a New York City taxi payment system instead of simply going to landfill,” Li said today. “This is important. It’s going to be foundational to tech and, one day, must be existential to industry.”

    For more information on Re-Teck reverse supply chain management services, please visit: www.re-teck.com
  • June 1, 2017   |   Colin Staub / E-Scrap News Predicted manufacturing return drives Re-Teck expansion
    Predicted manufacturing return drives Re-Teck expansion
    Reverse Supply Chain Management platform currently deployed by Global 500 brands


    A U.S. electronics disassembly and processing outlet is expanding with a new California flagship facility, spurred by anticipated growth in the domestic electronics manufacturing industry.

    Re-Teck, an IT asset disposition (ITAD) company, plans to open a new 50,000-square-foot facility in the San Francisco Bay Area in August. Its U.S. operations are currently made up of three Dallas locations totaling 75,000 square feet.

    The U.S. has been “a major focus of our corporate development in the recent couple years and going down the road,” Linda Li, Re-Teck’s chief strategy officer, said in an interview with E-Scrap News. “It’s because we do foresee a lot of high-tech manufacturing potentially coming back to North America.”

    The California project is driven by the predicted increase in post-industrial supply of recyclables, although it will handle post-consumer materials as well.

    Re-Teck handles all steps in the end-of-life management process and works in both the post-industrial and post-consumer spheres. According to a press release, its clients include Microsoft, NEC, Amazon, Motorola and others. Its services include front-end take-back platforms, such as is used by Amazon, as well as the transport of material from a distribution or repair center to a Re-Teck processing facility, where devices undergo screening, testing, authentication, data destruction and grading of parts.

    Re-Teck’s Dallas-area facilities are R2-certified, and Li said the company will work to certify the upcoming facility in Milpitas, Calif. as well.

    Re-Teck is a subsidiary of Li Tong Group (LTG), which performs the same services and has 21 wholly owned facilities around the world.

    Enabling reuse a priority
    The company prioritizes disassembly and parts harvesting, but will send components that can’t be reused to a shredder for materials recovery.

    E-plastics receive special attention from Re-Teck. Because it’s difficult for a plastic reclaimer handling curbside materials to handle e-plastics, Re-Teck facilitates the return of those materials back to the virgin material supplier.

    “This is very unique in the high-tech space,” Li said.

    Materials fit for reuse go into a variety of downstream outlets, depending on the condition of the device and the volume a buyer needs. Re-Teck often works with smaller designers and manufacturers without the budget to buy large shipments of new parts, Li said. She gave the example of a toy drone manufacturer needing to buy screens in bulk while trying to keep costs down. Li also cited another downstream example of harvested screens being sold and reused as the displays in taxi cabs.

    Driven by OEM commitments
    Changing attitudes about end-of-life management contributed strongly to Re-Teck’s expansion decision, particularly companies becoming more involved with how their products are handled.

    Li described recent announcements by major electronics manufacturers looking to bolster their sustainable activities as evidence of a change. Although Li didn’t mention the company specifically, Apple recently made such an announcement when the company said it will strive to use entirely recycled metals in its manufacturing in the future.

    “Compliance and sustainability, senior directors in these areas from some of these large corporations are making announcements that they’re going to close-loop, reuse all their materials,” Li said. “They’re going to build the next generation supply chain where reuse and recovery is maximized.

    “Once one company makes that kind of move, and everyone else considers their peers, they want to do the same thing. Nobody wants to be a lagger in this space because the public is just, the awareness is really there. We do really believe that the U.S. will be a high-demand and high growth market for us.” www.re-teck.com
  • May 24, 2017   |   Recycling Product RE-TECK enables leading technology manufacturers with solution to challenges of take-back initiatives
    RE-TECK enables leading technology manufacturers with solution to challenges of take-back initiatives
    Reverse Supply Chain Management platform currently deployed by Global 500 brands

    SAN FRANCISCO, California - Taking care of the considerable logistical, compliance and technological issues of deploying technology take-back initiatives can be a considerable barrier for brands seeking to do better. Re-Teck, the Dallas- and San Francisco-based leader in Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) is providing leading technology brands with a simple solution to a complex issue, but is also turning a cost center into a profit center by dismantling obsolete technologies and re-purposing valuable components into new devices.

    "Our partners — the leading technology brands on the planet — win by providing their customers with a brand experience that extends beyond hardware, UX and support, but also extends to what happens once the product needs to be replaced and recycled," Linda Li chief Strategy Officer, Re-Teck said today. "Our programs provide confidence to the brands and the consumer that the product will be taken care of in the most responsible way possible and that valuable components will not simply be destroyed or sent to landfill, but re-used in a progressive and intelligent way."

    Re-Teck's strength lies in the depth of its engineering expertise: engineering teams consider the aftermarket value for devices, the primary market value for component parts such as screens, switches, and chips, as well as the recycling value of metals, and extract the usable elements for re-sale to Re-Teck's global partner network. This process, Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM), has been pioneered by Re-Teck and its parent company Li Tong Group (LTG) of Hong Kong. Remaining non-usable parts are disposed of via highly regulated, compliant systems.

    Re-Teck and parent company, LTG, have elevated the issue of hardware lifecycle management to a strategic opportunity that OEMs and hardware brands can manage effectively for considerable gains. Re-Teck's end-to-end RSCM platform, currently deployed by Global 500 brands such as Microsoft, NEC, Amazon and Motorola among others, is increasingly available to startups, SMBs and enterprise clients who use or sell hardware.

    "At Re-Teck we take the hard work out of doing the right thing," Li continued. "Our programs have been proven by the most demanding brands at the highest levels and have allowed our partners to deepen their customer relationships, strengthen their organizational/culture initiatives, maintain the highest levels of compliance and even return a profit. It's a win:win for the brand, the customer — and the environment!"

    Re-Teck is the North America subsidiary of Li Tong Group (LTG). LTG is the global market leader in Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) solutions for OEMs, enterprises, government and consumers for the reuse, remanufacture and recovery (3R) of both Post-Industrial Recovery (PIR) and Post-Consumer Recycling (PCR) and hi-tech products and components including mobile devices, smart devices, big-data network and telecom equipment. In the past 15 years, LTG has developed a global network of 21 wholly owned facilities across North America, APAC, EU and MEA, which currently serves more than 100 customers and employs more than 1,200 people worldwide. It has an extensive patent portfolio for innovative methods and automated systems of digital processing and reclamation technologies. www.re-teck.com
  • Oct 24, 2016   |   Hong Kong Statement on basel action newwork e-trash transparency project report
    Statement on basel action newwork e-trash transparency project report
    HONG KONG – An E-Trash Transparency Project report from Basel Action Network (BAN) that GPS-tracked 200 electronic waste products cites a printer that was exported from the United States and disposed of at a non-certified facility in New Territories, Hong Kong. In this report, Good Point Recycling, a US-based electronics recycler, claims this device was provided to Li Tong Group for processing through its downstream partner, ARCOA Group. The BAN report disputes this claim, and after a thorough internal investigation Li Tong Group can confirm the BAN Report findings that this device was never provided to Li Tong Group. In fact, Li Tong Group has never conducted business with either Good Point Recycling or ARCOA Group.

    Li Tong Group can also confirm that it did not receive any printer of the model in question from any partners in Hong Kong during the time period covered by the BAN study. Li Tong Group has never conducted any business whatsoever with the non-certified New Territories facility cited in the BAN Report.

    As a leading provider of reverse supply chain management solutions for the world’s top tech and telecomm companies, Li Tong Group prides itself on commercially and environmentally sustaining practices. Li Tong Group encourages accountability and is fully committed to transparency and sustainability at all of its facilities.

    The Li Tong Group facilities located in Hong Kong are fully compliant with the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department’s (EPD) local regulations. It holds EPD licensure as a Registered Waste Producer that ensures the disposal, collection and transport of waste is carried out in a manner that prevents and mitigates environmental damage. Li Tong Group also holds EPD licensures for the Disposal of Chemical Waste.

    These Hong Kong-based facilities are ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007 certified for asset recovery and electronics recycling—using advanced technical expertise and specialized processes for collecting, sorting, dismantling and recycling electronic waste for its clients.

    Li Tong Group also holds several internationally recognized standards certificates for the recycling industry, including R2 (Responsible Recycling) and RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard)—the highest standard for the electronics recycling industry. Li Tong Group was the first company in the Asia-Pacific region to hold both R2 and RIOS certification.
  • May 24, 2016   |   Adele Peters/ Co.Exist Your Old Smartphone May Finally Be Recycled In A Smarter Way
    Your Old Smartphone May Finally Be Recycled In A Smarter Way
    Instead of shredding gadgets and melting materials, a Hong Kong company uses tools to carefully separate parts so they can be reused.

    When Apple announced that it collected 2,204 pounds of gold from old

    electronics through its recycling programs in 2015, headlines speculated that the company made $40 million in the process. That wasn't true: To comply with producer responsibility laws, Apple pays recyclers to handle piles of old gadgets. The value of precious metals might help offset that cost, but it isn't a way to rake in cash.

    In fact, traditional recycling—which shreds down old gadgets and then attempts to separate old materials such as gold—is a poor way to recover either the value of components or the environment footprint it took to make them. But recycling is beginning to evolve.


    Hong Kong-based Li Tong Group (LTG), which operates 21 recycling facilities around the world, is one of the pioneers of newer methods of recycling. Instead of shredding gadgets and melting materials, the company uses new tools to carefully separate parts so they can be reused in something new.

    "When you smelted something, you pretty much get nothing from it," says Linda Li, chief strategy officer at LTG. "No value recovery from it. The raw material value barely pays for the cost of recycling. Whereas now there are actually a lot of non-proprietary, generic parts from a defective product that can be reused."

    When an old phone or tablet goes through the company's recycling process, first all of the data is erased. Then, after some visual inspection, the gadget is disassembled into parts such as the LCD display and battery pack. This requires specialized tools that are designed to get around products that were never designed to be disassembled into components.


    Certain proprietary parts have to be destroyed because manufacturers don't want the IP stolen. But other generic parts can be reused, whole, in new products. An LCD screen from an old tablet could become a screen in the back of a taxi. A camera in a phone might be reused in a toy that needs a camera. In some cases, old phone parts might end up in a new, lower-end phone. Other companies might use them to repair or refurbish old gadgets.

    By using whole components instead of materials, it's possible both to recover more financial value and have a much greater environmental impact. If you recycle silver the traditional way, it still needs to be processed into a new part; while you save the environmental impact of digging it up from the ground again, there's often a bigger carbon footprint involved with the rest of the manufacturing process.


    In a lifecycle study LTG commissioned, they found that by repurposing an LCD screen alone, they could help a manufacturer save 70%-80% of the carbon footprint. "Traditional methods focus on smelting down the motherboard and maybe recovering some gold and silver, but we have found that actually the motherboard doesn't generate a lot of carbon footprint savings for you at all," Li says. "It's in the LCD."

    Traditional recycling might not even touch an LCD at all, because it's mostly glass and doesn't have a financial value. "In our method, you save the whole thing," she says.

    The company serves manufacturers such as Microsoft, Apple, Motorola, and Amazon. Other processes are also becoming more sophisticated, like Apple's new 29-arm robot that can automatically disassemble an iPhone 6s.

    The challenge, however, is partly getting old electronics to the right places so they can be recycled into higher-value materials. Of the 93 million tons of e-waste that may be generated this year, much of it is likely to end up in dumps. Other gadgets still end up in developing countries, in places where "recycling" might mean burning toxic plastic parts over a fire. The challenge of collection will keep growing: E-waste is growing two to three times faster than any other type of waste.
  • February 17, 2016   |   Tim Culpan/ Bloomberg Where Your iPhone Goes to Die (and Be Reborn)
    Where Your iPhone Goes to Die (and Be Reborn)
    At a dedicated factory with 24-hour security in an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, iPhones are being carefully and meticulously destroyed.

    The plant is one of a handful around the world, chosen by Apple Inc. to grind up and recycle its iconic phones. And just as the companies that manufacture the handsets are subject to strict standards and secrecy, the same applies in reverse for their disassembly, right down to weighing the shreds, to make sure nothing is lost.

    Apple has sold more than 570 million iPhones since that January morning nine years ago when Steve Jobs stepped on stage in San Francisco to “reinvent the phone.” Even Apple doesn’t know how many of those phones are still out there -- in the hands of their second, third or fourth owner, or sitting forgotten in a drawer. But the company wants to ensure as few as possible end up in landfills.

    That’s the job of the plant in an industrial park in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long district belonging to Apple contractor Li Tong Group. This is where iPhones, iPads and iMacs come to die.

    While global brands including HP, Huawei, Amazon and Microsoft also have detailed protocols for recycling their products, Apple’s are the most rigid and exacting, according to people involved in the processes, who declined to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak about clients.

    "I think people expect it of us, I think our customers hold us to a high standard," Lisa Jackson, Apple’s head of environmental affairs, said by phone from the company’s Cupertino headquarters. "It’s difficult, because these are incredibly complex pieces of product."

    Neither Apple nor Li Tong would provide access to the Hong Kong facility, say how many units it recycles, or give specifics of the de-manufacturing process.


    In the electronics recycling business, the benchmark is to try to collect and recycle 70 percent, by weight, of the devices produced seven years earlier. Jackson says Apple exceeds that, typically reaching 85 percent, including recycling some non-Apple products that customers bring in.

    That means it will have to get hold of and destroy the equivalent of more than 9 million of 2009’s iPhone 3GS models this year around the world. With iPhone sales climbing to 155 million units last fiscal year, grinding up Apple products is a growth business.

    Closely held Li Tong, which also recycles equipment from other manufacturers, has three sites in Hong Kong and a dozen more worldwide. It expects global capacity to climb more than 20 percent this year, including a new facility in San Francisco.

    Apple said it collected more than 40,000 tons of e-waste in 2014 from recycled devices, including enough steel to build 100 miles of railway track.

    Brightstar Corp., based in Miami, Florida, TES-AMM in Singapore, Hong-Kong’s Li Tong and Foxconn Technology Group, the most famous manufacturer of iPhones, are part of a global network of recyclers that agreed to more than 50 rules, ranging from security, to insurance, to auditing, in the destruction of the phones.

    The process starts at hundreds of Apple stores globally, or online, where the company offers gift certificates to lure iPhone owners to sell back their devices.

    After a quick test, the recycler will either buy the phone or offer to scrap it for free. In the U.S., payouts for working phones range from $100 for the smallest-capacity iPhone 4, to $350 for the largest iPhone 6 Plus. More stringent testing then shows whether the handset can be resold or must be scrapped.

    Apple’s U.S. recycler declined to comment while Terence Ng, director of South East Asian partner TES-AMM didn’t respond to e-mail and phone messages. Once Apple’s partners decide a phone must be scrapped, a deconstruction process begins that is remarkably similar to Apple’s production model, only in reverse.

    Apple pays for the service and owns every gram, from the used phone at the start to the pile of dust at the end, said Linda Li, chief strategy officer for Li Tong. The journey, consisting of about 10 steps, is controlled, measured and scripted through vacuum-sealed rooms that are designed to capture 100 percent of the chemicals and gasses released during the process, she said.

    Reclaimed iPhones can’t be shipped across regions, must have their storage wiped, and must have all logos removed. The scrap can’t be mixed with that of other brand names, so recyclers need to have dedicated facilities for Apple, Li said. Apple staff monitor the process at Li Tong’s factory which employs about 300 people.

    While some brands salvage components such as chips that can be used to repair faulty phones, Apple has a full-destruction policy.

    “Shredding components takes more energy than repurposing,” Li said. Li Tong works with other customers to advise on how to design products that are easier to deconstruct, taking cameras from smartphones for reuse in toy drones, and adapting screens from Microsoft Surface tablets to use in New York taxis, she said.


    Apple shreds its devices to avoid having fake Apple products appearing on the secondary market, Jackson said. The company is working on ways to reuse components in the future, she said, declining to elaborate.

    "There’s an e-waste problem in the world," she said. "If we really want to leave the world better than we found it, we have to invest in ways to go further than what happens now."

    And once it’s ground into shreds, what becomes of your old iPhone? Hazardous waste is stored at a licensed facility and the recycling partners can take a commission on other extracted materials such as gold and copper. The rest is reincarnated as aluminum window frames and furniture, or glass tiles.
  • January 14, 2016   |   Hong Kong Li Tong Group’s Consumer Trade-in Program Scores Strong Sustainability, Economic Gains for Microsoft in Hong Kong
    Li Tong Group’s Consumer Trade-in Program Scores Strong Sustainability,
    Economic Gains for Microsoft in Hong Kong

    Mobile phones, laptops and gaming consoles are traded in for discounts on new technologies while legacy devices are harvested for components

    Demonstrating its unique capacity to serve the seemingly disparate goals of reducing clients’ carbon footprints while also boosting sales, the Li Tong Group (LTG) has successfully implemented a technology trade-in program for Microsoft that does exactly that. Since the onset of the program in Hong Kong in May 2015, the all-online electronic product trade-in platform has driven sales of new Microsoft hardware purchases as well as helped the company reach its sustainability goals by reducing the carbon footprint of its manufacturing processes.

    Delivering a positive customer experience is critical to Microsoft and we required a partner who not only understood our range of products and services but also our commitment to service and support,” said Katie Choy, Online Store Manager, Microsoft Hong Kong Ltd. “The team at LTG helped us design, implement and manage every step of our post-consumer trade-in process. With their end-to-end processing capabilities, including data sanitization, refurbishing, repurposing and recycling, the program has allowed us to become more sustainable while also retaining customers long after the initial transaction process.”
  • September 09, 2015   |   Linda Li / EBN Re-Shoring OEMs Challenged to Meet Expectations of Consumers & Regulators
    Re-Shoring OEMs Challenged
    to Meet Expectations of Consumers & Regulators

    As manufacturing returns, a part of its supply chain network also returns; however, it's critical that a robust reverse supply chain management (RSCM) infrastructure be easily accessible so that excess, obsolete and defective parts and products can be handled in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.
    For the past few decades, OEMs based in the U.S. have had many good reasons to ship the bulk of their manufacturing and supply chain jobs to other countries in the APAC region. The most compelling reason was that it dramatically reduced costs. Other benefits included less stringent regulations and greater convenience. The massive supply chain network they have built around the world, especially in APAC, is, in the opinion of many, a triumph of globalization.

    That's all changing. The trend began its reversal about three years ago when U.S. President Barack Obama proposed tax incentives meant to encourage companies to return to the U.S. the jobs that had moved overseas. Furthermore, Obama proposed ending or severely reducing tax breaks for businesses that continue to move jobs from the U.S. to other countries. Other factors contributing to the moving of jobs from Asia to the U.S. was the increase in labor costs in some parts of that region and the more consistent pricing of raw materials, which used to be considerably more affordable in Asian countries.

    As manufacturing returns, a part of its supply chain network also returns; however, it's critical that a robust reverse supply chain management (RSCM) infrastructure be easily accessible so that excess, obsolete and defective parts and products can be handled in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.

    As of today, that infrastructure is not in place. That's because the decades-long exodus of manufacturing rendered it unnecessary. There was not much of a market domestically for repurposing disposed parts and products here at home in the U.S. The U.S. has focused instead primarily on raw materials recycling and simple waste management.
  • July 30, 2015   |   Hong Kong Li Tong Group (LTG) Launches Motorola’s Online Take-Back Program in France, Germany and the U.K.
    Li Tong Group (LTG) Launches
    Motorola’s Online Take-Back Program
    in France, Germany and the U.K.

    The program developed and administered by Li Tong Group (LTG) maximizes value and sustainability of Motorola’s reverse supply chain management (RSCM) operations.
    Li Tong Group, LTG, which optimizes Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) services for technology and telecom, is teaming up with Motorola to offer consumers in France, Germany and the U.K. an easy and convenient way to trade in the mobile devices they are no longer using. The program, launched May 1, 2015, will accept mobile products regardless of manufacturer.

    France: http://www.motorola.de/specials-de.html
    Germany: http://www.motorola.fr/specials-fr.html
    U.K.: http://www.motorola.co.uk/specials-uk.html

    The program has been developed to optimize both the value and sustainability of Motorola’s reverse supply chain management (RSCM) operations. Upon arrival at the processing facility, products are identified and separated by type. A data wipe is then performed according to Motorola-approved processes and software, with data-wipe reports generated in a format and at intervals designated by Motorola. After products are disassembled and separated, additional processes are performed based on the material type, such as shredding or smelting of precious metals. Finally, the raw materials are re-introduced into the supply chain when they are staged in the warehouse.

    In developing the take-back program, LTG built in an unusually high degree of transparency. A certificate of destruction is provided to Motorola for each serial number and/or batch processed by the program. Also, all downstream processors to which scrap materials are re-sold after processing are audited according to Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) standards.

    “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with a leader like Motorola to develop a program that serves its customers in France, Germany and the U.K.,” said Linda Li, LTG’s chief strategy officer. “It is a great example of the value LTG brings to the quickly evolving RSCM industry. By deploying our global reach, our deep engineering expertise and our experience with successful take-back program we’ve been able to help Motorola optimize value and sustainability in its RSCM operations.”
  • July 28, 2015   |   Eva Koo / TechNote How Cloud Computing And IoT Are Contributing To An E-Waste Crisis In China
    How Cloud Computing And IoT Are Contributing To
    An E-Waste Crisis In China

    A generation of changes can happen in the span of just nine months in China’s tech powerhouses. It’s the same development that is creating a huge problem for generations ahead; electrical waste.
    China’s electrical waste problem is a serious one. China dumped 6 million tonnes of e-waste in 2014, the second largest number in the world following the U.S., while it only collected only 1.3 million tonnes of equipment for recycling in 2013.

    Most e-waste in China is produced by home appliances. The country report on China’s e-waste in 2011 shows that the five major products include TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and computers (desktop and laptop). As China has shown a sharp increase in mobile phone sales in recent years, it has become another main e-waste source.

    Since 2011, the ecosystem has changed, and there are a slew of new devices that could significantly worsen China’s e-waste issues.

    Based in Hong Kong, Li Tong Group (LTG) specializes in reverse supply chain management (RSCM) services for the leading technology and telecom companies in the world including Amazon, Apple and Huawei, according to TechNode’s research. When a used device is delivered to one of LTG’s global engineer-staffed facilities, it goes through screening, testing, and multiple device inspections to determine any problems of functionality. After data sanitization, the product can then be sold as a re-manufactured device. If OEMs are not interested in selling these devices, LTG can disassemble the parts and charge the OEMs for components which can then in turn be reused in other applications.
  • July 07, 2015   |   Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief / EBN Climbing the Reverse Logistics Mountain
    Climbing the Reverse Logistics Mountain
    In the past, reverse logistics was an unknown concept, and then considered a necessary evil. Now, OEMs have the potential to build a value chain that includes products at the end of their lives.

    In 2015, combined global spending on mobile devices and data center equipment reached $600 billion. Telecom equipment spending, meanwhile, will hit $247 billion in 2015, according to Infonetics Research. At the same time, other electronic product sectors, including smart devices and smart home appliances, are emerging to grow from a $51.5 billion global market in 2014 to $89.1 billion in 2017.
    In short, the world market is being flooded with electronic equipment that will one day reach its end of life. OEMs, then, need to look at ways to recycle, refurbish, and reuse these products and the associated components.
    "There's a snowball effect," said Linda Li, chief strategy officer at the Li Tong Group, a reverse logistics service provider. "The explosion of devices represents billions of products around the world. We've found that the average OEM spends 8% of revenue managing reverse supply chain functions."
    Further, regulatory concerns, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Sarbanes–Oxley (SOX), are also on the rise. "Government and regulatory bodies are coming up with more and more strict laws and regulations on producer responsibility so there's a big demand for post-consumer take back and recycling," said Li.
  • June 30, 2015   |   EBN Newswire Li Tong Group (LTG) Opens New Warehouses
    Li Tong Group (LTG) Opens New Warehouses
    To cope with the expansion of GCS and the business development of Telecom Business Unit, LTG had acquired an extra warehouse of 113,000 sq. ft. in the New Territories, Hong Kong in May 2015.
    The opening ceremony of the new warehouse has taken place on 27th June 2015 on the site. Speech has been given by Group Director Tony Wong, with a celebratory gathering among staffs afterwards.
  • June 29, 2015   |   EBN Newswire Li Tong Group (LTG) Names Linda Li Chief Strategy Officer
    Li Tong Group (LTG) Names Linda Li
    Chief Strategy Officer

    HONG KONG –Li Tong Group, LTG, which optimizes Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) services for technology and telecom, is pleased to announce the appointment of Linda Li to the position of chief strategy officer. In the new position, Li will continue to evolve LTG's role as a market leader in the RSCM field. Li, who is widely recognized as an expert in the field of green supply chain management, joined LTG in 2010 as corporate vice president. In 2013 she was named executive director and corporate vice president. In her four years with LTG she has pioneered the company's world-leading closed-loop recovery solution for mobile devices, devised the company's corporate growth strategies and led global initiatives and implementations.
  • June 10, 2015   |   EBN Newswire LTG Launches Microsoft’s First Consumer Trade-In Platform in Hong Kong Market
    LTG Launches Microsoft’s First Consumer
    Trade-In Platform in Hong Kong Market

    LTG, which optimizes Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) services for technology and telecom, is teaming up with Microsoft Hong Kong to offer consumers an easy and convenient way to trade in mobile phones, laptops, game consoles and tablets for coupons that can be applied toward purchases of all products available at Microsoft's online store.

    Introduced in early May, the program is Hong Kong's first all-online electronic product trade-in service. The process begins with the consumer registering the product to be traded in, which is then picked up by a courier and delivered to a facility where its condition is tested. Next, based on that testing, LTG staff activate the e-coupon on the program's system, which is emailed to the consumer for use toward any purchase at Microsoft's online store.

    LTG's role draws on its proven strengths and expertise in managing trade-in programs for the world's leading hi-tech OEMs. In addition to providing the valuation of the devices that are traded in, LTG developed the program's website, which it hosts. LTG also works closely with Microsoft Hong Kong to coordinate and manage the program's overall operation and workflow.
  • June 10, 2015   |   Sam Jermy / Supply Chain Digital LTG launches innovative Microsoft trade-in platform in Hong Kong
    LTG launches innovative
    Microsoft trade-in platform
    in Hong Kong

    Li Tong Group, LTG, which optimises reverse supply chain management services for technology and telecomms, is teaming up with Microsoft Hong Kong to offer consumers an easy and convenient way to trade in mobile phones, laptops, game consoles and tablets for coupons that can be applied toward purchases of all products available at Microsoft’s online store.

    Introduced in early May, the program is Hong Kong’s first all-online electronic product trade-in service. The process begins with the consumer registering the product to be traded in, which is then picked up by a courier and delivered to a facility where its condition is tested. Next, based on that testing, LTG staff activate the e-coupon on the program’s system, which is emailed to the consumer for use toward any purchase at Microsoft’s online store.

    Linda Li, LTG’s Executive Director and Corporate Vice President, said: “All of us at LTG are proud to work with an industry leader such as Microsoft to offer consumers a convenient and hassle-free way to apply the value of their old technology toward purchases at Microsoft’s online store.

    “We are equally pleased to support Microsoft’s commitment to maximizing value throughout its supply chain with innovative offerings such as this trade-in program.”
  • June 01, 2015   |   LORETTA CHAO / The Wall Street Journal Supply Chain Experts Seek an Afterlife in Electronics
    Supply Chain Experts
    Seek an Afterlife in Electronics

    The spread of handheld electronics is creating a growing stockpile of e-waste, but some companies say there’s value in discarded goods

    As quickly as new smartphones, smartwatches and other mobile devices seem to come out these days, companies are scrambling to figure out how to take them apart.

    About 1.3 billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2014, up 28% from 2013, and another 1.5 billion are expected to be sold this year, according to research firm IDC. And the growing number of connected devices is naturally followed by a growing amount of electronic waste, from the tiny components of hand-held electronics to massive cellphone towers. Companies need to dispose of the pieces without wasting valuable materials, damaging the environment—or spending a lot of money.

    Companies now spend an average of 8% to 10% of revenue maintaining reverse supply-chain functions, according to Linda Li, vice president at a Hong Kong-based Li Tong Group, a specialist in flipping logistics around and managing the handling of goods once they are discarded... LTG is hired by contract manufacturers and vendors of electronics and equipment to collect some 200,000 metric tons of e-waste a year to be destroyed—sometimes under careful watch of intellectual property owners—harvested for components, or broken down into raw materials for recycling.

    For all new devices coming out, we are already figuring out a way to handle it later on.—Linda Li, Li Tong Group
  • January 09, 2015   |   Robert J. Bowman / SupplyChainBrain What Will We Do With All That Electronic Waste?
    What Will We Do With
    All That Electronic Waste?

    Despite the popularity of global recycling programs, we’re a long way from solving the problem of what to do with the waste from discarded business and consumer electronic devices. As much as 85 percent of electronic products were discarded in landfills or incinerators last year. And the release of the iPhone 6 has brought the issue to a “tipping point,” says Linda Li, executive director and corporate vice president of strategy with Li Tong Group. On this podcast, she discusses where previous recycling efforts have fallen short, and why we’re still not deriving maximum use from the materials contained in old devices. Li argues for a "closed-loop" approach to managing e-waste supply chains – "the Holy Grail of the recycling business." Hosted by Bob Bowman, Managing Editor of SupplyChainBrain.
  • November 17, 2014   |   Andrew Burger / Triple Pundit Reverse Supply Chain Management ‘Closes the Loop’ on Waste
    Reverse Supply Chain Management
    ‘Closes the Loop’ on Waste

    Some of the world’s largest multinational businesses have recognized the advantages ‘closing the loop’ on their supply chains can provide. From energy and water conservation to materials reuse and recycling, they’re achieving significant gains in operating efficiency and productivity as they move toward becoming ‘zero-waste‘ and ‘zero emissions’ businesses.

    Mimicking natural ecosystems, commercial and industrial ecosystems are emerging — in which an increasing percentage of products, their components, and raw or intermediate materials are being reused or recycled. The ultimate goal - cradle-to-cradle product lifecycles in which all materials used to produce, package and distribute products to consumers are recaptured, reused or recycled - is edging closer to reality. Offering post-consumer takeback and recycling, enterprise IT and telecom asset management, and 3R solutions for mobile devices, Hong Kong-based Li Tong Group owns and operates 15 reverse supply chain facilities worldwide. From an OEM customer base in the consumer electronics sector, Li Tong is intent on expanding its reverse supply chain business across other industry sectors, Linda Li, a Li Tong executive director and corporate VP for strategy, told 3p in an interview.
  • October 28, 2014   |   Bay Area, CA, USA LTG is the gold sponsor of the 8th Annual Hi-Tech & Electronics Summit
    LTG is the gold sponsor of the 8th Annual Hi-Tech & Electronics Summit
    Li Tong Group (LTG) is the gold sponsor of the 8th Annual Hi-Tech & Electronics Summit, October 28th, Bay Area, CA, and will exhibit during the summit. Linda Li, Executive Director and Corporate Vice President of Li Tong Group will give a speech in the summit.

    This summit is a great platform for bringing together the industry’s influencers for discussion on the industry’s current state and future.
  • October 27, 2014   |   San Francisco, Calif. LTG to Discuss Electronic Remanufacturing Best Practices at the Hi-Tech & Electronic Supply Chain Summit
    LTG to Discuss Electronic Remanufacturing
    Best Practices at the Hi-Tech
    & Electronic Supply Chain Summit

    LTG (Li Tong Group), one of the largest Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) services provider for technology and telecom in the Asia-Pacific region, will be presenting at the Hi-Tech & Electronic Supply Chain Summit in San Francisco tomorrow. The presentation will focus on how technology companies can leverage RSCM solutions to reduce materials management costs by millions of dollars and make design-for-recycle practices a positive contributor to profit margins.

    Linda Li, executive director and corporate vice president at LTG, will share insights from the company’s 14 years of experience creating integrated RSCM solutions for manufacturers, OEM’s and other customers in more than 20 countries that reduce landfill use rates by more than 95 percent, as well as make global supply chain networks more efficient. LTG maintains extensive global relationships with manufacturers, suppliers, end-users and participants in secondary markets, and operates 15 wholly-owned facilities globally, providing post-industrial and post-consumer recovery, materials and component optimization design-for-recycle programs, reporting and compliance strategies, among other services.
  • September 01, 2014   |    LTG gained R2/RIOS™, the first and only company in APAC with the highest standards for electronics recycling industry
    LTG gained R2/RIOS™, the first
    and only company in APAC with the highest standards
    for electronics recycling industry

    After a series of rigorous and independent auditing, LTG has been granted R2/RIOS™, becoming the first and only company which gained this recognition in Asia-Pacific.

    R2 is the leading standard for electronics repair and recycling. The R2 Standard provides a common set of processes, safety measures, and documentation requirements for businesses that repair and recycle used electronics. R2 demonstrates to customers that electronics are being recycled with the highest standards for data privacy, environmental controls, employee health and safety and corporate responsibility.
  • July 31, 2014   |   MIS-Asia LTG Gets NAID AAA Certification
    LTG Gets NAID AAA Certification
    LTG in Hong Kong is the first IT asset management firm in Asia to earn the NAID AAA Certification for Sanitation Operations, according to a press statement by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) based in Phoenix, AZ, the US.

    The press statement by this non-profit certification provider said this means that LTG's capability to meet regulatory requirements for third-party IT asset management and computer recycling services providers has been validated.

    It also noted that the recently amended Hong Kong Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO) holds data controllers responsible for the compliance of third parties and has issued new regulations with regard to outsourcing.

    There are today 1000 NAID-certified operations in the US, Canada, South Africa and Australia, according to the statement.

 

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