Comcast, Echo Environmental team to give old coax cables new life

Comcast touted a new recycling partnership with Echo Environmental which it said will allow it to convert more coax cable waste into reusable materials.

While coax recycling itself is nothing new, traditional processing methods have only been able to extract the metals contained in the wires. A new polymer extraction technology developed by Echo Environmental last year, however, makes it possible to create new raw materials from the coax’s insulation and jacketing as well.

Tommy McGuire, President of Echo Environmental, told Fierce “This was a completely custom proprietary system developed for Comcast. It was designed to separate target polymers from the steel inner conductor and the multi-layered cords.”

“While we work with many companies to recycle or divert their old equipment, Comcast has been the only company to ask about coaxial cables,” he added.

Echo Environmental is set to recycle 70% of Comcast’s coax waste each year through the pair’s new partnership. Tom Vogel, Comcast’s SVP of Supply Chain and Logistics, told Fierce the remaining 30% of its coax waste will be “recycled with another vendor that is working towards the same purity levels as Echo Environmental.”

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Vogel said coax waste comes from both old pieces of network and consumer cables. Comcast didn’t provide a figure for how much coax waste it generates in a year, but Vogel highlighted the new partnership as a step toward its environmental goals. Comcast previously committed to become carbon neutral by 2035 in Scope 1 and 2 emissions across its global operations.

“We already recycle our cable waste, but the Echo Environmental solution allows us to get to the purity levels needed for reintroduction as raw materials,” he stated.

Echo’s plant is capable of processing one million pounds of wire waste each month. Vogel noted recycled cable components are often used in a variety of transportation, construction, communication and consumer goods.