COLUMBUS, Ohio — Robert Houghton has lived in Columbus most of his life, but after years in the adventure sports retail industry for years, he pursued another passion, focusing on the environment.
“Electronics is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet right now,” said Houghton, Co-founder and CEO of Sage Sustainable Electronics.
Houghton co-founded Sage Sustainable Electronics, with a mission statement of making the world more sustainable by extending the life of electronics and cutting down on E-waste.
“Electronic waste is full of toxic material that needs to be properly managed and it's fundamentally an unsustainable product and so we formed Sage specifically to make the world more sustainable,” said Houghton.
Although Sage is based in Columbus, and employs 250 people locally, the company operates across the globe—mostly serving large enterprise organizations in health care and financial services.
However, Houghton said the goal is to make tech more affordable to everyone, so donating to nonprofits and low-income areas is a big focus.
Houghton said each year the world produces more than 54 metric tons of electronic waste, but he's proud of the fact Sage is helping to create a solution.
“As an environmentalist, it's a great feeling. It should not be put into landfills, it literally will leach into groundwater and poison the environment and the people around it,” said Houghton.
For consumers looking to recycle old electronics, Houghton said to do research.
“Most of those events, because they are typically free recycling, are dumping the stuff in low-wage countries," said Houghton. "The program that is most reliable in my opinion right now is e-Stewards certified electronics. Those are like Sage, audited to be responsible."
Houghton said Best Buy and Stapes are two retailers who are most responsible when it comes to consumer electronic recycling.