But, what if we could get green by going green? Wouldn’t we feel super lucky if we found a place that actually paid us to recycle?
Well, that’s the premise behind YouRenew.com, a brand spankin’ new company that just came on the green scene a few weeks ago.
How Does YouRenew.com Work?
YouRenew.com is a website that pays you to recycle your old electronics. Yep, you read that right: they pay you to recycle electronics.
Here’s how it works: you type in the device of model number of whatever you’re looking to recycle. If it’s listed on YouRenew.com, then you’ll answer a few questions about the device, and then find out how much YouRenew.com will pay you to recycle it.
And, we’re not talking chump change here. You might be surprised at how much you can get for some of that clutter lying around your house. For newer equipment, we’re talking $100, $200, or $300 or more. So, it definitely pays to check.
If you decide to recycle the device, YouRenew.com will send you a receipt and a free shipping label so you can send it to them completely free of charge.
What Devices Can You Recycle?
YouRenew.com takes a pretty wide variety of electronics. You can recycle:
* Cell phones
* MP3 players
* Digital cameras
* Gaming devices
* External drives
Want A Visual?
Check out this video to see firsthand how YouRenew.com works:
How YouRenew.com Is Different
Because they’re completely green.
Here’s what they do: in addition to paying you to recycle your device, YouRenew also allows you to choose an environmental organization for them to donate to.
So, every time you recycle a device you can tell YouRenew.com to donate to CarbonFund.org, or AmericanForests.org (where one tree will be planted for each device you recycle). So, environmental organizations benefit financially every time you use YouRenew.
YouRenew also offsets their carbon footprint by using Co2Stats.
And, you can rest easy because your device isn’t being shipped off to some foreign country. YouRenew.com guarantees that your device will be safely recycled. Here’s what they have to say about it:
We guarantee that any device that touches our hands is safely recycled.
Our electronics recycler: Abington Reldan Metals, LLC (AR Metals), based in New Jersey, has been in the metals recycling business for over 30 years, and is an industry leader in recycling. AR Metals holds itself to the highest environmental and ethical standards – it does not export any e-waste and recycles on-site. It is ISO 14001 certified.
That, in my opinion, is pretty sweet.
YouRenew also stands out because it’s super easy to recycle your electronics here. You don’t have to set up an account; it’s a very quick process.
The site was founded by two students at Yale, Rich Littlehale and Bob Casey. I had a chance to talk with Rich about starting YouRenew, and he says that this all began because of an obsession with green business, and green tech in particular.
When I asked Rich how YouRenew.com was attempting to stand out from the crowd, he had this to say:
Where we’ve chosen to focus on differentiating ourselves is in three areas:
1) being greener
2) building a community of people who are interested in greening electronics and recycling and
3) making the site slightly easier to use (no account necessary, etc).
As for being greener, I think this is obvious in the following areas: the feel of the site, our partnerships and donations for every transaction with Americanforests.org and Carbonfund.org, and transparency for what we do with the old electronics (i.e. showing you we work with AR Metals of Philadelphia for recycling).
This stuff is only the beginning. In subsequent releases of the website (one coming up in early April), we’ll be a lot more clear on how we define recycling, what we do with electronics, and how we can help people be greener.
As for building a community, we’ll rely heavily on social networks such as Twitter and included the YouRenew Pledge on our website for people to promise not to throw away their old electronics and if they are interested get a newsletter we’ll put out on electronics recycling and technology every quarter.
It All Started At Yale..
Rich and Bob’s story is one that I love: a story of big risks, hard decisions, and all-nighters that ultimately paid off. It’s entrepreneuralism at its best!
Their story goes like this: while at Yale, Rich, Bob, and a few others now on their team began to see just how damaging thrown-away electronics can be on the environment. So, they decided to do something about it.
Their goal was simple: to create a business that would pay people to recycle. But, the implementation was far more tricky. For instance, both decided to take time off from Yale to pursue this dream. It was a huge risk, and they had more than enough nay-sayers telling them it wasn’t going to work. Rich even turned down a great job offer from an investment banking firm so he could start YouRenew.com.
The business model they’re using went through quite a few twists and turns, but Rich and Bob didn’t give up until they figured out the best way to structure the business.
It’s a fine balance, but they’ve managed to pull it off. And these guys have made an enormous effort to green this business as much as possible. They truly care about the environment, and they don’t just talk the talk on this; the proof is in the steps that they’ve taken to do as much good as possible.
The Challenge of Starting A Green Business
I asked Rich what his biggest challenge has been since starting YouRenew.com, and he said:
This is a great question and I can’t help but laughing when I see it. The truth is what Bob, our programming team, the other workers and I did over the last 4 months was utterly unhealthy.One night that sticks in my mind was staying up till 5am feeding and hydrating programmers on a Saturday night. Bob and I are (currently) about to take our first day days off in months.
Beyond the number of hours put in, here are a few other challenges: (1) people not believing in your idea and telling you that, (2) the reality that building anything on the web takes 3 times longer than anticipated (3) raising the capital necessary to build the platform, and (4) so far, getting the word out (though we’ve only been up less than a week).
If you can’t tell already, I love this site. I love the fact that they donate to environmental organizations with each transaction, that they’re keeping tons of electronics out of our landfills, and I love that they offset their carbon footprint by using Co2Stats.
I also love that these guys risked everything to start this business. As an entrepreneur and big dreamer myself, I can’t help but be drawn to other folks who are willing to live on the edge to follow their hearts. That’s when you know that you’re truly living, and I’m giving YouRenew.com a standing ovation for risking it all on this awesome endeavor.
Please go check out their site, YouRenew.com.
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