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Local News

Plainfield electronics recycler acquired by Finnish firm

Disassembled electronic parts move down a conveyor bet to be sorted for recycling at Vintage Tech Recyclers in Plainfield in December.
Disassembled electronic parts move down a conveyor bet to be sorted for recycling at Vintage Tech Recyclers in Plainfield in December.

PLAINFIELD – It’ll be business as usual, at least for some time, at the Romeoville-based Vintage Tech Recycling after last month’s acquisition by Finland-based Kuusakoski, according to the company’s president and CEO, Richard Hipp.

Vintage Tech is the electronics recycling vendor for Will County and will continue that role, Hipp said.

Kuusakoski has a U.S. headquarters in Plainfield.

“The two organizations have had a joint venture partnership for some time,” Hipp said Thursday. “Kuusakoski is a 100-year-old company that’s been involved in recycling of materials and the design and manufacturing of equipment that recycles those materials, whereas Vintage Tech is the customer service, the front-end of it, working with [manufacturers] coast-to-coast.”

Karrie Gibson, longtime CEO and president of Vintage Tech, sold the remaining shares of her company to Kuusakoski last month after almost 10 years in the electronics recycling business. Hipp said the two companies will continue to run separately during a one-year transition, with a joint executive team that includes Gibson.

Hipp said Vintage Tech, under Kuusakoski’s ownership, will remain Will County’s recycling vendor. But it’s unclear how proposed changes to a state law requiring manufacturers to pay for collecting and recycling certain devices will affect who pays for these programs statewide.

Under state law, manufacturers help pay for these programs by contracting with electronics recycling vendors. But once they meet pre-established weight quotas, they no longer have to pay those companies to recycle items.

Manufacturers met those state-mandated goals about halfway through 2014, meaning payments stopped and Vintage Tech ended up absorbing the costs.

Gibson was in negotiations last month with the county to ensure the company doesn’t absorb excess costs again. Kuusakoski will take part in those discussions this year.

County officials hope to increase state-mandated goals amid fears that local governments will be burdened with recycling costs. Proposed changes have been met with opposition from representatives from the manufacturing industry.

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