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Case study

Sustainable Electronics Recycling International

Challenge: Discarded computers, cell phones and other technology hardware is now the biggest source of solid toxic waste on the planet– over 50 million metric tons needs recycling every year. Filled with poisons and carcinogens like lead and arsenic, this waste demands expensive, careful handling, yet without industry standards, tons ended up in dumps in developing countries. Sustainable Electronics Recycling Initiative (aka: SERI), a nonprofit chartered to develop robust electronic recycling guidelines, looked to Altruist for help to strengthen its work with certified recyclers, improve its marketing and communication, grow its revenue, and accelerate member recruitment.


A new business plan outlined ambitious moves to a new corporate structure, a comprehensive rebranding, and staff structure focused on enhancing quality control, corporate partnerships and communication. Membership and revenue grew 25% a year, and a new brand and corporate affinity program attracted partners like Microsoft, Oracle, Sony and dozens of other major technology companies. Today, SERI’s electronics certification, R2, is the largest environmentally responsible electronics recycling standard is the world, covering over 1,000 recycling facilities worldwide. Over 1/3 of the world’s largest toxic waste stream is now being responsibly managed, with this fraction increasing each year.

John Lingelbach

Outstanding strategic thinking and fast implementation.

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