Featuring Green Tech: EC4P

Next up, as part of our Featuring Green Tech initiative, please meet James Pearson, Product Director at EC4P; a product developed with the aim to achieve sustainable innovative product compliance as part of global sustainability software company, thinkstep.

ADLIB: For some background information, who are EC4P and what makes your business offering unique and ‘green’?

James: If you have ever seen pictures of one of the many e-waste dumps in Africa or China then you have had a glimpse into the extent of the challenges associated with e-waste recycling. As we produce and use more and more electronic goods around the world, we are inevitably creating more waste which could end up on these tips or in other problematic waste streams.

Our product helps manufacturers of electronics make better provisions for the end of life recycling of their products in all the countries they sell around the world. We don’t just provide expertise on what companies need to do and where, but actually help them do it! On the tech side, we give companies a centralised way to manage recycling scheme registrations, data reporting deadlines and complex product data and recycling category calculations all from one dashboard.

ADLIB: Can you share a little bit about the technology aspect of your product? What’s the actual tech/languages behind it?

James: My favourite part! So, we are delivering our cloud-based software using one of the most satisfying tech stacks to work with. PHP and the Laravel framework on the backend, ES6 JavaScript and Vue on the front-end styled increasingly with Tailwind.css (if you haven’t used this library then I would stop reading and learn it now, thank me later ;-). We have a lovely deployment pipeline using Codeship and Laravel Envoyer with a fantastic, “sleep well at night”, test suite built on PHPUnit and Laravel Dusk. Servers, queues, object storage and all that good stuff is managed through AWS.

ADLIB: Who are the people behind the tech? How was it built?

James: I built the first version of EC4P almost six years ago but as we signed up more and more companies and won a few awards we quickly realised I was going to need some help. Since then we’ve had a range of outsourced developers work on the product and am now building up our in-house development team (we are recruiting btw!).

We are a small but growing team and whilst we don’t use SCRUM, we do work in a lightweight Agile manifesto type manner. We prefer to follow development practices espoused by the team behind Basecamp so we have longer “sprints”. Every new member of the development team has a few Basecamp books waiting on their desk for their arrival and the option to train on Agile principles as part of their Career Development Plan.

We write tests, practice #nodeployfridays and occasionally we take a break to go kayaking.

ADLIB: What does EC4P aim to achieve in terms of sustainability?

James: We try to be pragmatic at EC4P and as we know how big the problems with global e-waste are, we aren’t going to pretend we can single-handedly solve them. That said we take our responsibility in the industry seriously. The companies who use our products and services put much more money into recycling than they are likely to do without our help. If we can ensure they are paying an accurate rate for the types and amounts of products they sell in each country around the world then the recycling infrastructure in each country can be maintained and expanded which is certainly a positive thing.

ADLIB: Is there one piece of wisdom that you could pass on to those who are also looking to contribute to the Green Tech industry?

James: Beware of the… Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. I’m short on the idea that they are the holy grail of the future but happy to be convinced otherwise by anyone who buys the first round!

Tongue in cheek comments aside, if you are a developer wanting to work for a Green Tech company – I would say do the same thing you would try to break into another industry; Put a few public projects on your GitHub profile which show off your clean coding style, if you have the time contribute to open source software.

ADLIB: And finally, what’s in the pipeline for EC4P? What’s on the horizon?

James: Steady growth, household name clients and product recycling profiles for every country… I hope none of our competitors are reading this 👀

Thanks so much for sharing!

We’d like to promote and showcase ecologically conscious businesses in the South West, those with a sustainable and eco-friendly mindset. They may be developing products and services that will make a positive impact and/or be developing and using digital technologies to help sustain, preserve and improve our natural environment. Contact us to learn more about being involved.