From trash to treasure

Feb 10 2014, 14:12 IST
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SummaryMaking money out of defective and damaged mobile phones, laptops, televisions and refrigerators can be lucrative, and an enterprising start-up from New Delhi has shown how to do it.

Millions of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, televisions, refrigerators and other electronic equipment are sold in India every year—thousands among them are shipped back to the manufacturers because they are defective and get damaged in their journey from the factory to the retail stores. A good number of products purchased online are also returned by the customer incase there is a functional defect, missing accessory etc. Outdated products too make up a major chunk of the reverse journey.

Ever wondered what happens to such unused inventory? No prizes for guessing, but a large volume of the discarded yet unused items, especially the big ones, end up at scrap dealers’ shops and are dismantled mercilessly. Only those parts that are somewhat useful are segregated from the rest of the electronic junk and recycled; the e-waste awaits an acidic death in a nearby landfill!

Hitendra Chaturvedi, a smart

entrepreneur is trying to help the planet in his own way by ensuring that the hazardous toxin spewing e-waste and non-recyclable plastic stays out of the landfills. His five-year old venture, located in a south Delhi colony abutting the Delhi-Gurgaon metro line, deals in refurbished products and has made a successful business out of it. GreenDust, as his start-up is called, collects all customer-returned and factory seconds products, and restores them to ‘like-new’ condition. If there’s a functional defect, it is rectified. The refurbished product lineup comprises of mobile phones, laptops, desktops, cameras, home & kitchen appliances, healthcare and even gaming devices. These are then sold to the customer via company stores as well as its website

“Every refurbished factory seconds product is restored to its exact original factory specification. Only our price is almost halved,” says the GreenDust founder & CEO. “We adopt orphans, make them healthy and find them a home. It is a sustainable business model that is green and profitable.” Just to give you a sample on what’s on offer, a refurbished LG home theatre system is available at R11,915 compared to its market price of R16,990, a Philips toaster will carry a retail tag of R4,875 compared to its original price of R8,495, a Whirlpool washing machine will sell for R21,340 instead of its market price of R28,000, and so on and so on.

“I have tried to keep my business model simple,” says Chaturvedi. “Take the rejected and returned products from the retailer as well as end-customer, refurbish them, provide a year’s

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