Ronin8 Technologies’ green solution garners accolades
By Sohail Kamal, EP&T West Tech ReportElectronics Engineering Environmental
Wins BCTIA’s most promising pre-commercial technology impact award
The entrepreneurs behind Ronin8 recognized a problem: We love our phones and electronics and we are consuming them at an ever increasing rate. Smaller, faster and more powerful are the lures that put new gadgets into our pockets leaving behind a trail of electronic waste, much of which is recycled using toxic processes.
So Ronin8 developed an environmentally friendly method of extracting, for instance, the high value gold, silver, copper and platinum in our e-waste. Truly remarkable work, it’s perhaps no wonder they won one of the BCTIA’s 2016 Technology Impact Awards. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ronin8’s CEO, Peter Holgate, about the company’s aim to redefine sustainability by creating a true closed-loop economy in which every type of material is reused.
Q: Great to see a West Coast company develop new green services – what was the impetus for the start-up of Ronin8 Technologies?
“We were determined to be consequential in eliminating a multigenerational debt. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. We are literally handing our children and grandchildren a monumental problem,” explained Holgate. The volume of electronic waste generated worldwide is expected to climb to 65 million tons according to a study conducted by a partnership of United Nations organizations, industry, governments and scientists. “Globally the preferred treatment still consists of incineration in smelters. Using 200 year old technology that itself produces toxic airborne emissions like dioxins and furans compounds this multi-generational debt.”
Q: Is Ronin8 changing the way we look at electronic waste, and why should it matter to OEM’s?
“The environmental and human cost of mining minerals is unacceptable. Continually producing virgin polymers, virgin fiberglass and virgin ceramics is a strategic dead end [for OEMs]. By deploying Ronin8’s engineered process, including our sonic generation technology, we can start treating all these materials as sustainable,” says Holgate. Ronin8’s 5 year goal is to partner with an OEM who has the strategic vision to be a leader in sustainability. “A large OEM who already manages the collection of electronic waste would be an ideal partner,” states Holgate. The work of recycling e-waste in an environmentally sustainable fashion can then be outsourced to Ronin8. Ronin8’s process means that their output minerals are conflict free. This is of tremendous value to brands as they can report on the amount of greenhouse gases, water and other valuable resources directly saved by avoiding traditionally mined materials.
Declaring that “leaving a better world for future generations” as one of their guiding principles, their work can and hopefully will dramatically decrease the amount of released toxic chemicals and the amount of raw materials we need to mine to produce our favourite electronics. Holgate explained that 20% of all the gold mined every year goes into electronics. 1/3 of all silver that is mined annually goes into electronics. To be meaningful, their challenge will be capacity. 2.5 billion mobile devices were sold last year, and in order to serve the big brands and keep up with the global growth in electronics, they will need to work quickly.
Q: What does winning the BCTIA award mean for Ronin8?
“We are thrilled at the recognition and third party validation of our efforts. Of course it also means we have a greater responsibility to live up to the expectations of the award!” says Holgate. They applied for one of the BCTIA’s hypergrowth programs, and from there, they were nominated as a finalist for the award. “I had no expectations to win, but…having been awarded the most promising pre-commercial technology has had a great impact [on our team and our stakeholders].”
To learn more about Ronin8, go to www.ronin8.com, and to learn about all of the recent winners of the 2016 BCTIA Impact awards, go to www.bctia.org