IVY LEAGUERS THINK GREEN
(2/8/2010) BY DAVID KRECHEVSKY
One less phone that needs to be created is one less that can end up in a landfill. That's one of the motiva-tions behind an electronics reuse and recycling business created by two Yale Univer-sity students, Bob Casey of Chicago and Rich Littlehale of Norwell, Mass. They first came up with the idea to reuse and recycle consumer electronics in the spring of 2008, and the idea has since grown into a business serving both individual consumers and corporate clients. Casey and Littlehale, who are teammates on the univer-sity's lightweight rowing team, created YouRenew.com . They launched the Web site for the company in March 2009 to of-fer consumers a way to recy-cle their cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, cal-culators, laptops, gaming de-vices and other electronics and related items.
They subsequently ex-panded their efforts with a second Web site, Corpo-rateRenew. com, to serve business clients. "They founded the busi-ness on the belief that both consumers and large organi-zations want to be responsi-ble with their old electronics and want a convenient way" to recycle them, said Joe Pappalardo, a Yale graduate and former rowing teammate who left a Wall Street job to serve as director of business development for YouRenew.
"We've created a solution that is ... secure, transparent and convenient. Ultimately, it will help our customers be responsible with their old electronics, as well as get some cash back."
Pappalardo said the two sites offer to purchase de-vices that still work, which can be shipped to YouRenew for free via UPS or FedEx.
"We will resell them on the secondary market," he said.
"It makes brand name retail devices more affordable for a lot of consumers. We have a pricing platform where you can go to either of our Web sites, type in your device and it automatically spits out a value that is based on second-ary market demand."
Devices with little or no re-sale value are properly recy-cled by a separate business they have partnered with, he said.
"If a business has 100 BlackBerrys that they don't have a need for anymore, we will purchase them," he said.
"The goals is to reuse as many as possible. It's widely accepted that reuse is the best form of recycling."
There certainly is a grow-ing mound of used electron-ics available for reuse or recycling, according to the federal Environmental Pro-tection Agency. In a study titled "Electronics Waste Management in the United States" published in July 2008, the EPA reported that in 2007 there were approxi-mately 140.3 million cell phones to be recycled, 85 per-cent more than the 75.8 mil-lion phones to be recycled just four years earlier, in 2003.
"Companies like this can help people get where every-body wants to be - making it more convenient for people to keep this stuff out of the trash pile," said Paul Non-nenmacher, spokesman for the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority.
Nonnenmacher noted that electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops are loaded with materials that become hazardous in a land-fill or if burned in a trash-to-energy facility.
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