Circular Philadelphia is proud to announce that Sycamore International has signed on as a Silver Sponsor to help our organization and the Greater Philadelphia area continue advancing the circular economy in our region.
Sycamore International is an eWaste processor located just outside of Philadelphia in West Grove, PA that ensures responsible recycling, data security, and the environmental benefits of reusing resources. Their operation processes approximately 40,000 devices a month for refurbishment and recycles 10 million pounds of electronic waste each year. The core focus of their business has been working with school districts throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia to reclaim the value of the massive amounts of electronics that are turned over every year. Recently, they’ve expanded into enterprise healthcare data centers to mine the same value from these precious materials.
“We started this business 13 years ago with the concept of leveraging sustainable business as a competitive advantage.” explains Sycamore’s Founder and CEO Steve Figgatt. “This absolutely plays out in the circular economy, well before the term was more common, and it’s effectively what we’ve been doing since we’ve started and continue to do as we grow over time.”
As Sycamore’s Vice President of Sales Patrick Hayakawa acknowledges, many people and enterprises are driven by the amount of value they can get out of selling their unused electronics. But Hayakawa also knows that more and more people are realizing the externalized hidden costs in terms of liability for the cybersecurity implications of poor information handling and data destruction. What motivates Hayakawa even more is that people, and especially businesses, are becoming increasingly aware of the externalized hidden costs of poor environmental management. Sycamore finds great opportunity in working with vendors that didn’t account for the internal processes to address either of those factors.
“There’s a lot of growth mindset folks involved in Circular Philadelphia, and I think that’s a positive sign. Sycamore thrives by working with partners to bring new ideas to the table. ”
-Steve Figgatt, Founder and CEO
“I think our customers’ thinking about eWaste is getting a little more nuanced,” Hayakawa explains, “which means we need to stay nimble and continue to offer value on buybacks and price but also have high standards and ideas for cybersecurity and downstream environmental impact.”
Sycamore’s commitment to doing the responsible and circular thing with eWaste coupled with their business strategy to be a trusted and viable processor in the eWaste market made them a perfect fit for Circular Philadelphia’s network. In their view, the alignment of their mission and Circular Philadelphia’s mission are a perfect match. But according to Figgatt, so are the shared philosophies that it’s not just about managing the waste at the end of a product’s lifecycle, but more so keeping that product and/or its precious raw materials in a material supply chain for as long as possible to reduce the planet’s strain on energy and extraction needed to make new products.
“We all know that we want to do better and can do better,” Hayakawa points out. “So it’s nice to know that we don’t have to figure out every element of a supply chain, but instead we can find partners through the Circular Philadelphia network who may already be five years ahead of us when it comes to something like a packaging process to compliment the areas where Sycamore is far ahead when it comes to materials management. Rather than have to be an expert on all things, there’s this source of collaboration that Circular Philadelphia provides to make change as fast as we need to.”
Another major alignment of philosophies is the belief that in 3-5 years, Philadelphia can be a leader in the circular economy amongst cities worldwide. By building this network of circular businesses and connecting them to the larger market, Sycamore and Circular Philadelphia share the belief that there can be a tipping point where the greater Philadelphia region can get a reputation where it bolsters the existing businesses and brings more startups and larger companies from outside of the area with a commitment to circularity.
Hayakawa’s economic development background leads him to ponder, “Philadelphia has been known for Life Sciences, healthcare and higher ed, but what are the ways we can approach scale and economic returns to put us on the map over time for circular economy?”
And for Figgatt, he sees very clearly that a strategic partnership between Circular Philadelphia and Sycamore International is a key way to accomplish that.
“There’s a lot of growth mindset folks involved in Circular Philadelphia, and I think that’s a positive sign. Sycamore thrives by working with partners to bring new ideas to the table. And we’re excited to engage with other people and businesses with a similar mindset.”
Photo credit: Chris Baker Evens Photography | @chris_bakerevens on Instagram