Hi! Welcome back to our Featured Seller series where we interview our Jawa Verified Sellers to highlight their business and story. This week we interviewed Sean of BitRemedy, whose electronics recycling business lists parts and systems on Jawa! This week he gives us an inside look into the world of electronics recycling!
Tell us a little about who you are and how BitRemedy started?
My name is Sean, and I’ve always been obsessed with taking things apart ever since I was a young lad. I kept getting in trouble with my parents because I kept “trying to fix” their computers, until they got fed up and gave me a hand-me-down. I used to constantly learn new things about how stuff worked, watched Mythbusters and How It’s Made religiously, and loved to tinker with technology and computers. I also have an unhealthy obsession with arcade games, such as DDR, ITG, IIDX, PIU, and other music/rhythm games – as well as buying and fixing these things too.
Also being a young adult who saw things in the world I didn’t agree with, and wanting to be a part of the solution, I would often bite off way more than I could chew – and scramble to solve the problem later. This was how I started BitRemedy; I was working IT at my college, saw the ‘e-waste’ that was perfectly good, and took a paycheck and purchased as much ‘e-waste’ as I could to fix up, and give away and sell. Literally started as a garage business, until my parents wanted their parking spaces back and I had to find a place to rent.
Why did you start selling on Jawa and how did you find out about us?
I heard about Jawa from Bitwit on YouTube! I watch tech videos all day during my regular work shifts and when I get home. I am constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ideas.
I started to sell on Jawa because I’ve been looking to diversify my business revenue as well as reduce my business’ reliance on eBay. eBay is like a giant steamroller; you have to adapt or get out of the way or you risk getting flattened. Jawa is much more community based and listens. Based on the very first interactions and experiences with customers and the Jawa team, we were “sold” instantly! The Discord community definitely makes a difference.
As a computer recycler, your business is a bit different than our average Jawa seller. What is something most people probably don’t know about the electronics recycling business?
1. Electronics recycling is a lot of fun. There’s a surprising amount of electronics that get tossed out because they “don’t work” and are simply old, have a software issue, or might just be unwanted! To quote one of my favorite shows, Trailer Park Boys – “One man’s garbage is another man’s ungarbage”. There are few things more rewarding than fixing something expensive that you got for free.
2. Electronics recycling takes very little to get started. Simply ask your friends and family if they need help removing any old electronics from their basement or closet, and they’ll be glad you asked! Then you have a ton of old stuff you can sort through, and convert into value for other people. Anything that’s not worth money, you can then sort into and drop off to a local electronics scrap facility. It’s all about persistence. There’s a lot of discarded value in e-waste!
3. Remember the 3 R’s of recycling; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
4. There is sadly not a lot of regulation in electronics waste disposal. Some states have fines, and some simply don’t have anything. You’d be surprised how many people will throw electronics and batteries into regular trash. Some of this gets caught, but some doesn’t – and now we have piles of electronics with lead and other bad chemicals seeping into the ground because they got tossed into trash, instead of being recycled. Bad stuff.
How do you measure your impact? How much waste do you help reduce by recycling electronic vs throwing them in the dump?
We measure our impact by how many pallet cubes we recycle per month. Currently, we average about 18 pallets per month. This number goes up every month, so who knows where we’ll be in a year!
We process about 200 laptops a month, 200 desktops a month, and about 20 servers a month. We also recycle about 20-30 Televisions (10 CRTs and 10-20 flat screens). About 20-30 people drop off a car load of e-waste per month to our garage door as well. If you average this over a year, that’s 2400+ laptops, 2400+ desktops, about 300 televisions, and about 220+ pallets a year, or about 8 full semi-trailer loads!
Part of our mission is simply education; the more people know that electronics are really really bad to throw into the trash, the better. We love explaining all of the bits of recycling. If we can get people to ask questions, then we’re feeling like we helped plant the seed for wanting to know more.
We get a lot of comments from people saying that they would never buy used gear. How can Jawa help buyers become more comfortable purchasing used or repaired parts, specifically GPUs?
I would suggest having a standard of testing; such as a list of GPUs and performance metrics, and then a form of validation of the benchmark.
For example: RTX 3060s should benchmark 12,000 points on some benchmark (say… Passmark), and this list is available to find on the Jawa website. And, for example – I’m selling a 3060 that has been repaired. I can show proof “I ran this benchmark for 24 hours and it scored 11,900 – and my code is JW1234567890GPU” – which is publicly searchable, and shows the serial number of the card along with the score that it benched.
Possibly a “Jawa Certified Tested” for GPUs, specific benchmark ran for 24 hours that details thermal details every 1 hour, and a score. I think this would be awesome if there was a “badge of trust” for this; something anybody can do, just follow instructions / download software and run it for the prescribed amount of time.
What component would you say makes the most sense to buy used vs new?
I honestly think that anything makes sense to buy used if the seller can back it up or prove it’s good. To really narrow it down, I say NVME SSD, since those are easily tested – followed by RAM then GPUs.
To show the flip-side, the products we sell that have the lowest amount of returns are processors, followed by SSDs (both about a 2% return rate, versus average of about 3.5% return rate for most parts).
How would passing Right to Repair impact the gaming gear landscape? Right to Repair would impact the gaming gear landscape immensely. This would lower the cost of refurbished electronics and lower the cost to repair failing parts. Imagine being able to send your out of warranty 1080 Ti for repairs and it only cost $60. One day, you might even be able to visit a local repair shop that’s in your neighborhood; it shouldn’t be a specialty to do soldering repair work. This used to be pretty normal for solder repair to be ubiquitous.
Gamers are very cost conscious since we’re mostly young people. Young people don’t make a ton of money, and are very careful on what they spend money on. Right to Repair would lower the cost to repair, which would save money – give more options to individuals (should I repair this or replace it), and it would give a ton of more job opportunities to enterprising people looking to make money fixing stuff.
One example is to just cite how popular EVGA’s B-Stock store has been over the last 2 years. All of that stuff is recertified/refurbished stuff, and it flew off shelves!
If you bought a gaming PC using only refurbished parts, you’d probably save 30% off new! I’ve done this dozens of times without problem.
What current trends in the PC / gaming space do you love or hate?
I love the trend of indie games becoming more and more popular. Indie gamers, rise up? There’s just so much creativity bursting at the seams.
I am however not a fan of the “us vs them” feeling of tribalism between Console Gamers and PC Gamers. I know some of this is sarcastic and done for humor, but it does seem to strike a nerve with some. I would love to see a feeling of more inclusion for our friends who prefer to game more with controllers. This only represents a minority of people; so it’s not a big issue.
What’s your most memorable PC building/creating/ or gaming experience?
I used to be a part of a local group of arcade enthusiasts that frequented a local Nickel arcade. We would meet at the arcade on Fridays and game from 5pm until midnight every Friday. We didn’t need an event or reminder, we just showed up. One of my favorite memories is when there were about 30 of us there, and some people decided to bring their home PCs over and set them up inside. We played Duck Game, Nidhogg, VR Games and all sorts of awesome fun steam games all night in between arcade games. This was all totally spontaneous and it felt like we truly had captured lightning in a bottle.
9. What is your favorite build or part for sale on Jawa right now (yours or another seller’s)?
I’m a sucker for this one because it’s creative, thinking outside the box to make it look cool, and it’s reusing something that might have been tossed aside! This build would handle most indie games just fine at 1080p. If I were them, I’d probably lower the price a tad, and you’ve got yourself a sale! 🙂
We hear you have some hardware dad jokes…can you tell us your favorite? – One day, when I was replying to someone as to why I was late on an email “I’m so sorry, we were testing GPUs and a flock of RTX 3000 series cards escaped. Who knew RTX 3080s could run so fast?!”
– “As it turns out, AMD processors are not meant to be used as hair combs…” – “Biostar motherboard? More like… I’m a-bio-start-a-fire!” followed by deafening silence.
What feature would you like to see next on Jawa?
I think it would be awesome for the “Jawa Verified Tested GPU” badge or something. List of GPUs and benchmark scores to compare your own card against.