binee: new business models for e-waste

e-waste, binee, mobile phones, WEEE, wasteless future, end of life electronics

This is a guest blog written by Marilu Valente and Martin Jaehnert, two of the three members (the third one is Florian Eidner) of the binee core team. The natural questions is what exactly is binee? Well, binee is an innovative e-waste collection system that collects mobile phones, telephones, hair dryers, earphones, digital cameras, laptops, computers, speakers, keyboards, mouses, mainboards and PCBs of different types, watches, alarm clocks, radios, cables, chargers, digital frames for pictures, kitchen tools like kitchen scales and mixers, bathroom utensils like electric toothbrushes, razors, hair dryers, epilators, other household tools like drills, irons and also toys and even mini ventilators. Powered by IT systems, binee provides vouchers to each and every user, while at the same time supports analytics, reporting and monitoring for the diversion rates. Read more at the post below. I found it pretty interesting, so enjoy it.

” The 8th European Innovation summit has been held at the European Parliament in Brussels from the 14th until 17th of November. During this event binee was showcased by EIT Raw Materials as an example of how we can recover the ever-increasing amount of electronic waste we generate.

With the fast pace of technological advance, the lifetime of electronic gadgets decreases considerably. Currently electronic devices are manufactured with a variety of valuable raw materials such as copper, silver or cobalt extracted through mining activities, often at the expenses of natural ecosystems. Increasing the rate of collection and processing of the electronic waste stream can recover these valuable materials.

the practice of offshoring electronics supposedly destined for recycling has everything to do with money

In the current market, the collection and processing of this waste stream is too expensive. In a recent article in TIME, Jim Puckett, BAN’s founder and executive director, tells TIME “…the practice of offshoring electronics supposedly destined for recycling has everything to do with money.” This is why binee is trying to find new solutions for sponsoring the collection of small electronic appliances. binee offers another way of covering the expensive cost of collecting the waste and delivering it to recyclers and refurbishers.

The EIT Raw Materials plays a major role in developing innovations around this topic. It does so by creating a structured dialogue between academia, research institutes and business, facilitating the exchange of ideas and needs. With initiatives like this one, entrepreneurs have a chance to turn their ideas into business opportunities.

Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream. binee has identified the opportunity leveraged by the WEEE (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directives which are forcing electronics producers and retailers to take back a share of the electronics they produce.

binee extracts value from the end of life of electronic devices, by providing a network of electronic waste collection points where people can conveniently dispose of their electronics. Motivating the user to return his old or broken electronics is the first stage of the value chain of the e-waste business sector. The motivation is in the form of coupons or discount vouchers, which you can redeem when you return your device from one of binee’s collection point.

In this way binee is the intermediary between the user and the electronics recyclers or refurbishers. binee leases the collection points to electronics retailers and producers, shopping malls, schools and gains a share from the vouchers used.

The voucher providers have a much more targeted reach through binee’s website and the physical interface on the collection points. For the producers and retailers of electronics, binee offers a new channel for reaching to consumers in line with their CSR targets. binee’s service is also attractive for the recyclers whose plants have the capacity to recycle a much higher quantity of e-waste than they actually receive.

binee makes the whole waste stream more transparent, by empowering the user with the knowledge of what happens to his old device. This topic is also very relevant for the development of a circular economy. Indeed the lifecycle of a product starts with raw materials which are then processed through manufacturing. At the end-of-life the raw materials need to be collected then recycled or re-used.

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are investing some €24 billion to circular economy businesses. Initiatives such as EIT Raw Materials’ business validation and accelleration programs support this with a low threshold and enable innovative products to enter the market. Just like binee does.

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