While R2 Stewardship has been in business
for just a year, the company history is a little longer – seven
years, according to Stacy Renteria-Vigil, the operations manager
for the company.
Seven years ago, the company operated under
another name in Sheridan, Colorado in partnership with another
business. When the partnership was dissolved, Stacy and Henry
Renteria-Vigil opened R2 in Denver. On opening day, there were
three employees; after just a year, there are 17. The company
is also working on opening a new drop-off facility in nearby
The “R2” part of the name refers to the company’s
goal of responsible recycling of computers and other electronics.
There are different ways of accomplishing that, Renteria-Vigil
explained, including repair for resale, and dismantlement for
Repaired computers are sold to consumers
“and we also donate to schools,” Renteria-Vigil said. They sell
computers one at a time, or they sell in quantities to larger
customers. “I believe that our old technologies can be other
people’s new technology,” she said.
Computers and other electronics that can’t
be repaired are completely disassembled in the “breakdown department”
where components are sorted into different categories for recycling,
with plastics, metal, wire, and circuit boards heading to different
companies. Renteria-Vigil said that the circuit boards were the
most valuable, but everything was recycled, and “we try to keep
it within Colorado, when possible.”
The material that comes into R2 arrives from
a number of different sources ranging from commercial and government
accounts to individual customers who bring in just a piece or
Possibly the most visible part of the business
is the recycling events that are held all over the area. Some
are organized by local towns, while others are run by organizations.
At a recent charity-sponsored event, R2 not only accepted electronic
scrap at no charge, they also gave away 10 desktop computers
to kids who attended.
At quarterly recycling events sponsored by
a local town, R2 is the electronics recycler. At those events,
residents drop off materials that aren’t acceptable for the usual
trash or recycling pickup, and R2 fills two or three 50’ trailers
After the events, “we hold onto everything
for at least 30 days,” Renteria-Vigil said. They instituted that
policy after someone mistakenly recycled a computer that still
had needed data on it. They were able to find the computer, but
it was such a close call that the company decided it would be
better to wait at least 30 days, just in case.
On the other hand, if customers want to make
sure data is destroyed, R2 can do that for a small charge. “We
customize to our customers’ needs,” Renteria-Vigil said.
One thing she was adamant about was that
none of the material R2 processes ever left the country. Not
only does R2 not ship overseas, but they make sure that the people
they sell to do not ship out of the country.
But that’s not all. “We make sure they all
are certified in the same way we are,” she said.
While some companies gnash their teeth about
government regulations, R2 sees them as an opportunity. “It’s
only bettering us,” Renteria-Vigil said. “Every day is a learning
Right now, the company is working towards
some new certifications. Part of the process is working with
auditors who make sure the company is complying with all local,
state and federal regulations. Much of it involves paperwork,
and Renteria-Vigil said that the auditors are very good about
working with them to make sure “all the i’s are dotted and the
t’s are crossed.”
The new certifications are expensive, Renteria-Vigil
said, and they can take up to six months to complete. “We’re
hoping to be done in November,” she said.
R2 will be just the fourth recycler in Colorado
to have these certifications. Renteria-Vigil said having the
certifications would put R2 ahead of their competition if the
certifications ever become mandatory. But for now, she said the
certifications are mainly for “bragging rights.”
But it’s not all about business. Renteria-Vigil
said, “It’s not even like work – it’s like a big old family away
from home.” Meanwhile, she has become more conscious of recycling
and has been teaching her four sons to “go green” at home. “We
believe in what we’re doing,” she said.