At the GreenBiz Forum in New York City this week, we took a close look at the current state of consumption. The topic is a fitting one for the venue, as some people might consider New York a hub of economic activity and consumption.
As a self-proclaimed gadget junkie and former Silicon Valley transplant, my focus is consumer electronics. At Gazelle, we give new life to consumer electronic gadgets that have value and responsibly recycle the ones that don't. We're a Boston-based consumer electronics trade-in and recycling service, and our business is all about rewarding people for smart consumption. We coined the term "reCommerce" for our business model, which rewards consumers for selling and recycling used gadgets they no longer use to get cash.
It should come as no surprise that today's consumer markets are punctuated by new consumer electronic launches, where everybody wants the latest and greatest gadget. Take the recent release of iPhone 4s as an example, which led to unprecedented sales of new phones. The upgrade mentality is etched into our consumer culture. But the new launch also resulted in an incredible level of trade-in activity of used phones, with more than 150,000 being reCommerced through Gazelle alone. Slowly but surely, consumers are starting to realize the benefits of reCommerce.
However, there is still a huge opportunity ahead for reCommerce. Today, less than 1 percent of consumer electronics are reCommerced while 37 percent are recycled or thrown away and 56 percent are either donated or left to collect dust in drawers and closets. What we see today represents a great opportunity to change the way people think about the consumption of consumer electronics.
At the GreenBiz Forum in New York City this week, I had the great fortune of sharing my One Great Idea with attendees, and now I'd like to share the idea with readers in hopes this idea will spread even further. What I love about this One Great Idea it is that it doesn't cost anything; it doesn't require raw materials or resource consumption. And it has the potential to have a greater impact than any new product launch.