Updated on 6-16-09
My cell phone is apparently so old and unfashionable that it isn't even listed in YouRenew's database. It's a beaten up, electric blue flip phone without Internet access or at least I never had web access on the thing. (Remember the Katana by Sanyo, with non-standard plugs for accessories and a design that blatantly knocked off Motorola's Razr? Anyone?)
But that doesn't mean YouRenew won't recycle it for me for free (including free shipping!), once I'm finally done with it. Plus, there's still a chance I could get paid something for it, once my custom quote comes via email.
It's a recycling model that has been successful before, including with 2009 Heart of Green award winner Jennifer Canty, who built a successful business on eBay through her companies Dyscern and TradeUps. Canty pays consumers money for their used electronics, then refurbishes them and resells them at a discount. The small amount of unusable waste that results is fully recycled.
YouRenew has a similar model, and the interface is simple and fast. Enter the details of your hardware and get a quote instantly. If you're like me, and you have something that's less popular, you'll get a quote via email. Even if the quote comes up $0, you can still mail the device to YouRenew, and they'll recycle it safely. You won't pay any shipping, whether you get paid or not.
It's also exciting to hear that, according to the company, YouRenew does not ship any e-waste overseas; all recycling is said to take place in the U.S. This is worth mentioning because of our well-publicized history of shipping toxic e-waste to Asia, where environmental and worker standards have been traditionally lax (all of us in the biz have seen heart-wrenching photos of little children waist deep in circuit boards, looking for bits of copper or lead to scrape off and sell for pennies.
YouRenew claims that they wipe the memory of your devices when they receive them, but it's always a good idea to do that yourself before you drop anything in the mail. With identity theft and cyber crimes continually on the rise, it's vital to take steps to protect your personal data. A complete reformat is always preferable to simply deleting files.
The good news is there are more and more options for electronics recycling, especially encouraging since we are using more and more electronics, and their useful lifespans are falling in many cases. Don't forget too that you can type your zip code into our local info finder on The Daily Green to get more recycling information.
I received word back from YouRenew on my cell phone, in case anyone is wondering:
Thanks so much for getting in touch. Unfortunately your device is beyond economic value. If you'd like us to recycle it for you, please feel free to send it in! We've attached a prepaid label for your convenience. We appreciate your using YouRenew.com, and hope that you visit again soon.
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