YouRenew: Protect the Planet and Be Paid for It

By April 26, 2010

How to get rid of your old device? On Earth Day, it’s a question we have to ask. In fact, geek or not, high tech fan or simple user, everyone has more and more devices at home, in pockets, in bags… Not you? Check your bag: you

’ve probably got one or two cell phones, an iPod, a digital camera, a laptop, external drivers, and maybe some space for your future iPad!

All of these gadgets enhance our daily lives but become a problem when no longer unusable; people don’t know how to recycle them. That’s why they end their lives in a drawer. has the solution and proposes selling or recycling your electronics. The startup was founded in 2009 by two friends at Yale University: Bob Casey and Rich Littlehale. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 130 million cell phones are turned over each year in the U.S., and only 10 percent of them are recycled. That’s why Casey and Littlefield decided to launch this company.

“Everyone has an old electronic device they’d like to recycle. Why not get paid for it and help the environment in the meantime?” asked the founders. Indeed, the concept, called “reCommerce,” is to turn old electronic devices into cash.

Users put the name, brand and model of their device into a search box, and the website then asks a few questions about it in order to determine how much the user will be paid, which is done by check or PayPal. But if the item doesn’t have value, YouRenew will still provide free shipping and recycle it. Moreover, users choose how they will help the environment: by planting a tree or by domestic renewable energy.

What happens to old devices? Thanks to partnerships (like with recellular), the startup sends old gadgets back into the market by sending it to partners who refurbish and resell the devices. If device no longer functions, the company recycles it thanks to a partnership with WeRecycle, Inc.

The business model is simple too. The startup resells devices that still function and, with old devices, an electronics-recycling partner pays YouRenew by the pound for the devices.

By using the basics of sustainable development, is a really interesting concept. In fact, by offering to recycle old devices before they turn into trash, the concept is eco friendly. On the other hand, by offering remuneration for recycling, the startups make the act more pleasant. Now, recycling isn’t a constraint but a way to make money!

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