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PC recycler cleans up

As demand for PC recycling services takes off, Newmarket IT is taking on $50 million in funds to expand its operations.

The PC market doesn't seem like a great investment these days, but the market for the disposal of old PCs is a different story.

Newmarket IT plans to announce next week that it has received $50 million in private equity funding to help expand its growing PC refurbishing and recycling business. Newmarket counts Dell and Hewlett-Packard among its customers for its services, which are more and more in demand as businesses and consumers start to dispose of PCs in a more environmentally friendly way, said Jeff Ziegler, founder and chief executive officer of the company.

"We're focused around the events of a technology refresh--any IT asset that's coming off the desk," Ziegler said. Newmarket is the company behind the aggressive recycling targets set by companies like Dell and HP for disposing of old equipment.

Its first priority is to remove any sensitive data from an old PC and refurbish that machine for resale to consumers or businesses. Ziegler estimates that half of Newmarket's business involves refurbishing and reselling, which extends the life of a PC beyond what large enterprises are willing to support. Around 40 percent of the company's business involves stripping PCs of equipment that can be sold as spare parts. The rest, basically anything that can't be salvaged, is extracted for recycling.

The companies that Newmarket serves have strict audit policies on how and where recycling materials are processed, Ziegler said. In some cases, PC "recycling" involves dumping old systems in foreign countries with looser requirements on materials handling, something Ziegler called "a big problem in our space."